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

1

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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

Scientists Discover How the Brain Creates Meaning

November 18, 2012, 12:30 PM
Brain%20ss

What's the Latest Development?

When is a cigar more than a cigar? A team of Dutch scientists believe they may have the answer. By using an fMRI scanner to study the brain activity of eight bilingual volunteers as they listened to the names of four animals spoken in English—bull, horse, shark and duck—the scientists were able to locate the specific part of the brain where the meanings of words are created. When the bilingual individuals listened to the same words but in a different language, the same area of the brain activated, confirming that concepts imbue words with meaning, not how they sound.

What's the Big Idea?

In the study, scientists could identify which of the four words an individual heard by looking at how their brain reacted. An extension of this logic suggests a machine could one day read a person's mind, but because different brains work differently, "you would have to scan a person as they thought their way through a dictionary," said Matt Davis at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK. "For now, knowing where to look for brain activity relating to meaning could help doctors identify awareness in people who have disorders of consciousness, such as locked-in syndrome."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

 

Scientists Discover How the...

Newsletter: Share: