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

Why the Brain is So Well Suited to Celebrity Worship

June 30, 2013, 5:51 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Our fascination with celebrity is a product of the modern era but its explanation may have roots deep within the biology of our brain. Culturally, it has benefited our species to imitate the behavior of the most successful members of society. Speaking in evolutionary terms, this meant the best hunter, fisher, homemaker, etc. The irony of modern celebrity worship is that we often seek to imitate behavior that has little or nothing to do with how the celebrity became well known in the first place, e.g. drinking a coffee brand an actor is paid to advertise or wearing a perfume created by a pop star. 

What's the Big Idea?

Humans are unique in the way we imitate other members of society in that we judge prestige to be the quality most worthy of imitation. Other species, such as primates, choose their leaders based on dominance, which is closely tied to the threat of physical violence. The most convincing theory of how such a system arose suggests that prestige evolved as part of a package of psychological adaptations for cultural learning. "It allowed our ancestors to recognise and reward individuals with superior skills and knowledge, and learn from them." This behavior allowed the innovations of one individual to spread across the entire society.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC News


Why the Brain is So Well Su...

Newsletter: Share: