September Is Big Think's "The Month of Going Mental"

The bottle of wine you and your partner shared last night didn't kill a single neuron in your head and, contrary to what you've been told, you are always using more than 10 percent of your brain. The prevalence of these myths, debunked by Princeton neuroscientist Sam Wang in the video below, prove that though we may be using our minds all the time, the public's understanding of the spongy organ between our ears is still far from complete.


Therefore, in an effort to showcase all that cutting-edge science has discovered about the brain—and all that continues to confound—Big Think is proud to present The Month of Going Mental. Throughout September, Big Think will travel inside our heads, presenting a different feature on the brain each weekday in our new blog called Going Mental. These features will take us from unsolved mental mysteries to the latest breakthroughs in brain research. Every idea in the series will be supported by contributions from leading experts, including neuroscience giants like Antonio Damasio, Jospeh LeDoux, Oliver Sacks, and Stephen Pinker, and every week will focus on a new topic within the expansive field.

WEEK 1: The Brain’s Biggest Mysteries

Neurologists and neuroscientists alike continue to ponder age-old questions about the mind and brain. What is consciousness? What is intelligence? Why do we sleep and dream? To kick off the first week of The Month of Going Mental, Big Think will examine these three greatest mysteries of the mind.

WEEK 2: Abnormal Minds

Before neuroscientists had sophisticated brain-imaging technology, the only way they could learn about the healthy brain was to study damaged or abnormal brains. So aside from being inherently titillating, abnormal psychology has been fundamental to scientists' understanding about the brain. Beginning with the iconic case of Phineas Gage, the second week of The Month of Going Mental will delve into the fascinating world of abnormal psychology, including schizophrenia, psychopathy, and other bizarre disorders of the mind.

WEEK 3: Sex, Drugs, and Neuroscience

This is your brain under the influence—of love, lust, drugs, and religion. The third week of Big Think's The Month of Going Mental will reveal the way the brain's functioning perpetuates religion; the way falling in love amounts to a series of chemical reactions inside our head; and the way that mind-altering substances distort our perception of reality.

WEEK 4: Brainstorms

The fourth week of Big Think's The Month of Going Mental will focus on five of the most fundamental mechanisms of the brain: emotion, memory, decision-making, attention, and language. How do the different areas of the brain give rise to these fascinatingly complex phenomena? This week we will discuss what neuroscientists know up to this point about these mechanisms and also what direction the cutting-edge research is heading. 

WEEK 5: Enhancing Your Brain 

Modern life taxes the brain in ways it was not taxed mere decades ago. In the final week of The Month of Going Mental we will examine how our brain is coping with the changes of the digital age and what you can do to enhance your mind now and for the future. 

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less
Promotional photo of Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones
Surprising Science
  • It's commonly thought that the suppression of female sexuality is perpetuated by either men or women.
  • In a new study, researchers used economics games to observe how both genders treat sexually-available women.
  • The results suggests that both sexes punish female promiscuity, though for different reasons and different levels of intensity.
Keep reading Show less

This 1997 Jeff Bezos interview proves he saw the future coming

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.

Technology & Innovation
  • Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
  • He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
  • Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
Keep reading Show less