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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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Today’s Big Idea: Decision Making and Cognitive Bias

The Big Idea for Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Over the past 40 years, cognitive science has discovered a series of common blind spots in human decision-making. Our reasoning and intuitions are extremely powerful and useful. But now it is known that numerous cognitive biases are built right into the structure of human minds.

Cognitive biases can prevent you from achieving the goals you care about. They can cause you to spend money that you later realize was wasted, or choose a career or romantic partner that you regret. When politicians and business leaders make decisions due to deeply ingrained cognitive biases, they can steer entire companies or countries towards outcomes that are later acknowledged to be disastrous, and which negatively impact the lives of millions of people.

Thanks to a wave of popular books like Thinking Fast and Slow, Predictably Irrational, and Nudge, awareness of our systematic thinking errors has grown dramatically. But despite all we’ve learned, it is rare that we are taught the skills to correct for cognitive biases. Fortunately, techniques now exist which can help you overcome them.

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Rhetorical Fallacies - Dodging Argument Traps | Decision Academy Part 2
    ClearerThinking.org Big Think Mentor
  2. 2 The Science of Better Decisions | Decision Academy Part 1
    ClearerThinking.org Big Think Mentor
  3. 3 Daniel Kahneman: Why Moving to California Won’t Make You Happy
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 Optimism Bias and Loss Aversion. Risk Perception and The Fiscal Cliff.
    David Ropeik Risk: Reason and Reality
 

Today’s Big Idea: Decision ...

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