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

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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
Close

Today's Big Idea: Neuroscience

The Big Idea for Sunday, March 18, 2012

How early in life do we begin to learn? New evidence points to the idea that our outlook and understanding of the world is already being shaped in the womb. Children are able to recognize and remember beats three months before they're born, starting with their mother's heartbeat. “It is truly the ‘prenatal to three’ timeframe that is the most ideal opportunity to enrich a child’s environment as it pertains to long-term development,” says pediatrician Liz Moore.

It's unclear whether babies can make out words and music prenatally, though we do know that newborns can already distinguish their parents voices from others', smiling in response. (Science writer Annie Murphy Paul, among others, believes that our first exposure to our native language does in fact occur in vitro.) We also know that kids consciously remember emotional events by age two, which is why your child might be afraid to see the doctor -- by this age, she's able to associate the doctor's office with the pain of getting a shot. 

Today, we're looking at the science of child development. Diane Ravitch argues that our social responsibility to children begins well before they enter kindergarten: the years from 0-5 are considered some of the most developmentally important, with measurable impact continuing throughout one's entire adult life. Sandra Aamodt -- coauthor with Sam Wang of Welcome to Your Child's Brain -- launches a new six-week series on building self control, which, she says, is more significant a factor than intelligence. And Alfie Kohn writes on the importance of play.

Perspectives

  1. 1 When Does Learning Begin?
    Megan Erickson Think Tank
  2. 2 Why Build Self-Control?
    Sandra Aamodt How to Build Your Child's Self-Control
  3. 3 Bilingualism Will Supercharge Your Baby’s Brain
    Jason Gots Think Tank
  4. 4 The Point of Play is That it Has No Point
    Alfie Kohn Experts' Corner
 

Today's Big Idea: Neuroscience

Newsletter: Share: