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

What Makes the Human Mind Unique?

February 5, 2012, 4:15 PM

What's the Latest Development?

New research has shed light onto the mystery of our own minds. Specifically, why the human mind is so superior to those of even monkeys and chimps, our closest animal relatives. A team of German scientists has extracted brain cells, post mortem, from people, chimps and monkeys of many ages, looking to see which genes were active when they were alive. By examining the RNA of the prefrontal and cerebellar cortices, scientists found that different gene combinations helped determine different brain abilities in each species.

What's the Big Idea?

The human mind is unique in its ability to recall the past, plan for the future, reason abstractly and navigate complex social relationships. But why has the physical evolution of Homo sapiens resulted in such convincing mental superiority? To summarize, human beings have "suites of genes that probably cause their brains to be 'plastic' and thus receptive to change far longer (to the age of about five) than is true for chimps or monkeys (whose brains are plastic for less than a year after birth)."

Photo credit: shutterstock.com



What Makes the Human Mind U...

Newsletter: Share: