What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Human Language Has a Positivity Bias, Says Study Analyzing 24 Languages

July 1, 2014, 3:10 PM

What's the Latest?

In a study that analyzed how different cultures perceive many of the words they use on a daily basis, researchers have found that humans tend to speak positively about each other and the world. Conducted at the Computational Story Lab at the University of Vermont in Burlington, researchers first drafted a list of the 10,000 most used words across 24 different languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, Russian, Indonesian and Arabic. Then they paid native speakers to rate each word on a positive-negative scale--the word "sun", for example, was generally considered positive while "lonely" was generally considered negative.

What's the Big Idea?

When researchers plotted the perceived word happiness for each language, all languages showed a clear bias toward positive words. Spanish topped the list, followed by Portuguese, and then English; the Chinese language appeared as the least happy. The study "fits nicely into a broader body of research in psychology suggesting that positivity plays a more important role in most people's existence than negativity. For example, we tend to remember pleasing information more accurately than unpleasant information." The curious question of why some languages appear happier than others remains unanswered.

Read more at Physics arXiv

Photo credit: Shutterstock


Human Language Has a Positi...

Newsletter: Share: