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: Did you collaborate with the futurist Richard Florida?

 

Sam Gosling: What he’s been doing is he’s been looking at personality differences across the nation- across the country. And he’s been doing international ones, too. That was a really interesting project. And it was one of these projects that never came to us- it wasn’t something we planned. I had just for years been collecting personality data on the Web, and we had literally hundreds of thousands of personality surveys, and my student was just he has this intuitive knack for something that’s interesting, and he- we had never thought of it- he just thought, okay, let’s go and see if there are differences in the states of personality. And so then since we did find some differences, he started collecting zip code data so we could get more finely-tuned portraits of personality differences.

 

Question: What did you find?

 

Sam Gosling: There were a number of findings. First of all, we were interested in whether this- we have this stereotype, right? About the laid-back dude Californians and the uptight Woody Allen neurotic New Yorkers. So we were looking at other differences in neuroticism. And that’s one of the ones that shows up most cleanly is we see, yes, indeed, there are- if you look at the map of the country, the northeast is higher in neuroticism and the southwest is lower in neuroticism. And these are very small differences, but they’re reliable differences. You know, of course, not everybody in New York is neurotic, but on average, they’re more neurotic than the average Californian.

An openness, too- we found some really nice findings with openness, which is really what’s linked to Richard Florida’s findings, in terms of- ‘cause that’s the one that’s really associated with creativity, and so there you find high openness, which is are people interested in abstract ideas, philosophical, intellectual and so on like that- you tend to find that down the coasts. And then there’s pretty much not much going on in the middle with one or two pockets of higher openness.

 

Recorded on: June 13, 2008.

 

 

 

The Truth About Regional St...

Newsletter: Share: