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.
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What's the Latest Development?
University of St. Andrews researchers sorted a group of adults into one of four categories according to how many hours of musical instrument practice -- ranging from none to over 5,000 -- they'd accumulated. While wearing EEG sensors, they then took two challenging cognitive tests, one of which required them to "respond with their right hand if they saw a red shape, and with their left hand if they saw a blue shape—even if the shapes popped up on the opposite side of the screen." Those with more musical practice responded faster and without any loss in accuracy. In addition, the researchers reported in Neuropsychologica, the more experienced musicians demonstrated "a better ability to detect errors and conflicts, and a reduced reactiveness to these detected problems."
What's the Big Idea?
The ability to process data efficiently without becoming unduly derailed by mistakes is one of the first mental functions to decline with age. The test subjects who'd had musical training were all amateurs, which suggests that music study could be used along with puzzles and other games designed to help keep the mind sharp.
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