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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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The Risk Perception Gap

The Big Idea for Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween! This is one day out of the year where the star of the show is clearly fear. It can be fun to experience this emotion because it is so primitive. If you surprise someone and say "Boo!" they might jump, or freeze up. There, you got 'em!

In today's lesson, we explore how fear works, and how it is so difficult to control. We also explore the consequences of not controlling this emotion, which can cause us to make all kinds of bad decisions - bad decisions that we make based on fear every day, not just on Halloween. 


  1. 1 We Have Evolved to Live Every Day Like It's Halloween
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  2. 2 The Amygdala in 5 Minutes
    Joseph LeDoux
  3. 3 Some Halloween Thoughts on Fear
    David Ropeik Risk: Reason and Reality
  4. 4 Lie to Me: The Biological Basis of Emotion
    Daniel Honan Think Tank

The Risk Perception Gap

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