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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.

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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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The Best Counterintuitive Way to Win an Argument

May 22, 2014, 12:30 PM
Argument

What's the Latest?

Following on data that showed a wide gap between people's beliefs and their actual knowledge--such as believing to know how a toilet works while not truly understanding its mechanics--University of Colorado researchers have found that asking people to explain their beliefs encourages reflection on what they claim to know. Conversely, when researchers showed individuals that their knowledge was inadequate--soliciting no input from the individuals themselves--their beliefs were hardened even while they were presented with clear counterfactual evidence. 

What's the Big Idea?

If you want to win an argument, rather than assault your opponent with your superior knowledge, it is better to listen to him or her and ask follow up questions that require more specificity about the position in question. Researchers call the phenomenon by which people claim know vastly more than they do "the illusion of explanatory depth". It is common, they say, for people to confuse their familiarity with a subject--say something that is blasted at them every day over the Internet--with an intricate understanding of the causal forces involved.

Read more at BBC Future

 

The Best Counterintuitive W...

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