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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.

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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Why Some Learn Faster Than Others

October 9, 2011, 8:16 AM

What's the Latest Development?

A new study published in Psychological Science sheds light on why some people learn quicker from their mistakes than others. Each time we make a mistake, the brain reacts twice. The first reaction, error-related negativity, appears just 50 milliseconds after the mistake; the second, error positivity, occurs later and is associated with awareness of the mistake. While these reactions occur involuntarily, they are influenced by what people believe to be the true nature of intelligence.

What's the Big Idea?

In the recent study, people were divided into two groups: One that thought of intelligence as a fixed characteristic and another that thought it was more malleable. Following their outlook on intelligence, mistakes made during the experiment either represented an immutable failure or a chance to learn and improve. Those who viewed intelligence as the product of a learning process, rather than purely as talent, had longer error positivity reactions indicating they were more attentive to—and more willing to correct—their mistakes. 


Why Some Learn Faster Than ...

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