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
With rendition switcher


Question: Could your research methods be utilized for criminal investigation?


Sam Gosling: I think they do to a certain extent. I mean, they’re looking for acts, criminal acts. We’re looking for ordinary, everyday acts. So that’s some of the things we’re doing. And I think they are all- in fact, when we were starting the project, we had an FBI officer come and talk to us about what he did. We thought we might learn something from him. And at the time, I thought he was being rather mystical, ‘cause he would say, “one of the first things I do when I come to a crime scene is I go and sit in the space- and I just soak it in.”

And I thought it was kind of something new-agey going on or something- but now, in retrospect, I realize what he was doing was he was letting these things that really jump out at you fade back a little bit so he can take in the broader pattern. But they’re doing the same thing for behaviors. I mean, I think we are going beyond that in some other ways.

So, although we are looking for consistencies in behaviors which will help us get our traits, we’re also looking for things like values and identity and so on- and we’d look for that in different places, so we’re looking for, for example, these claims people make- identity claims. These are deliberate statements people make to themselves and to others about how they’d like to be regarded- usually not disingenuous statements- they really want to be known.

We know from lots of psychology over the past couple of decades that people want others to see them as they see themselves. I think a lot of it is making these statements to the world, but- and then they’re also creating a space that makes them feel a certain way as well, so we would probably draw more on that, in addition to the- what I call behavioral residue- sort of the residue of our acts that we leave inadvertently in our space.


Recorded on: June 13, 2008.



Behavioral Residue

Newsletter: Share: