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
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: How do psychological factors affect the economy?

Thomas Cooley:  Well, I think that-- that's very good question actually.  I'm a big believer in concrete factors.  But there is no doubt that there are certain kinds of behavior, economists call it herd behavior, but you see it in financial markets periodically.  You see it in housing markets.  There's no reason to explain why everybody thought that housing prices would just keep going up and up other than that they did believe it.  And so there's no doubt that this sort of herding instinct occurs and affects things.  But usually things like that come back to earth.  So just as asset price bubbles always break and things come back to more rational valuations, so I think herd behavior eventually works its way out of the system.  So, you know, I think consumer sentiment matters, it matters a little bit, it's not the most important thing.  Fundamentals are most important.

 Question: Does the media fan the flames of herd behavior?

Thomas Cooley:  Well, I think the media does tend to fan the flames of herd behavior because, you know, it's-- dramatic news is good news, not more so than good news is good news.  So I think that's an issue.  But I also think that government policy tries to counteract herd behavior sometimes. By responding to what markets expect.  So when people are in a panic, they look to the government to do something and often times the government at least talks about it. 

Recorded: 3/21/08

 

 

Re: How do psychological fa...

Newsletter: Share: