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

To Your Mind, Getting a Gift Means Giving in Return

December 2, 2012, 11:02 AM
Gift%20giving

What's the Latest Development?

With the holidays approaching, the social rules that govern the giving and receiving of gifts are perhaps more present than at any other time of the year. Simply put, it is rude to receive without giving in return. Called the rule of reciprocation, the imperative to return the favor has surprisingly deep roots in our psychology. In 1974, for example, sociologist Phillip Kunz sent Christmas cards to over 600 individuals by choosing names and addresses at random from telephone directories. To his surprise, he received more than 200 cards in return, and some families continued to send cards for nearly 20 years despite never knowing Kunz personally. 

What's the Big Idea?

From the Hare Krishna at the airport to the waiter who gives you a mint with your dinner check, receiving something typically requires that you give back whether you want to or not. "There's not a single human culture that fails to train its members in this rule," says Robert Cialdini, emeritus psychologist at Arizona State University. "This is probably because there are some obvious benefits to the rule of reciprocation; it's one of those rules that likely made it easier for us to survive as a species."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

 

To Your Mind, Getting a Gif...

Newsletter: Share: