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.

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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Context Effects

The Big Idea for Friday, April 12, 2013

Even the most subtle environmental influences can have a profound effect on how we think and behave. This is the key insight from Adam Alter's new book, Drunk Tank Pink (And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave). 

From the names we are given at birth to changes in the weather, psychologists have recently come to understand how context effects greatly impact, as Alter demonstrates, "the world within us, the world between us, and the world around us."


  1. 1 Pretty in Pink: How Our Environment Shapes How We Think
    Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd Big Think TV
  2. 2 Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World
    Sam McNerney Moments of Genius
  3. 3 The Amygdala in 5 Minutes
    Joseph LeDoux
  4. 4 Lessons from Sherlock Holmes Pt.I: Paying Attention to What Isn't There
    Maria Konnikova Artful Choice

Context Effects

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