The Best of Big Think
20+ most popular Big Think articles, as voted by our community.
Learn from the world’s biggest thinkers.
These are currently making the rounds on Refind.
How saying "me" or "we" changes your psychological response — and the response of other people
Considering the perspectives of others has important benefits for individuals and for society. There is one easy way to do it.
«Perspective-taking is especially difficult for children, who often assume that others perceive the world just as they do. »
Do birds have language?
In our quest to find what makes humans unique, we often compare ourselves with our closest relatives: the great apes. But when it comes to understanding the quintessentially human capacity for…
4 of the hardest unsolved problems in philosophy — and some possible solutions
Philosophy has come a long way since Thales argued the universe was made of water. Philosophers have produced new ideas that enrich the world around us, give us a better understanding of the universe…
Want antifragile kids? Get out of their way
Generation Z, born from 1995 onward, has been raised with “moral dependency,” argues social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. As the first generation to get social media at age 13, Gen Z has been denied…
Why gene editing is still humanity’s most powerful tool
Journalist and author Walter Isaacson’s latest book chronicles the discovery of the groundbreaking technology that enabled gene editing. Jennifer Doudna was a young scientist captivated by RNA’s…
Big Think on Aging
The most damaging exercise myth
It is widely believed that it is normal to become less physically active as you get older. But this is a pernicious myth about exercise.
Rules for sustaining peak performance as we grow older
Biotech will offer us longevity, and we can harness downstream "superpowers" to improve key skills and live much better as we age.
«key downstream skills like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, cooperation, and collaboration»
Big Think on Consciousness
Neuroscience research triggers revision of a leading theory of consciousness
Data shows that unconsciously processed images are distributed to higher-order brain networks. A popular consciousness theory needs revision.
Big Think on Philosophy
To make great changes in your life, follow the philosophy of kaizen
When we set insurmountable and unrealistic goals, it's easy to get demoralized and just give up. Kaizen offers us another (better) way.
«There’s something wrong with each of us. Even if you tried to live a faultless, blameless, perfect life, there is always something left to criticize.»
The Swedish philosophy of lagom: how "just enough" is all you need
Just because a thing is good doesn't mean that you need more of it. "Lagom" teaches us to appreciate that "just enough" is all we need.
«A “fulfillment wheel” is a way to measure balance across different aspects of life. Lagom is to be well-rounded and to take pleasure in that»
Big Think on Physics
Not just light: Everything is a wave, including you
A concept known as "wave-particle duality" famously applies to light. But it also applies to all matter — including you.
Flamingos stand on just one leg, and physics is the surprising reason why
There’s an enormous evolutionary advantage for flamingos to stand on one leg, but genetics doesn't help. Only physics explains why.
Big Think on Quantum Entanglement
Brain experiment suggests that consciousness relies on quantum entanglement
New research indicates that consciousness may rely on quantum mechanics. Perhaps the brain does not operate in a "classical" way.
Does consciousness change the rules of quantum mechanics?
Maybe our understanding of quantum entanglement is incomplete, or maybe there is something fundamentally unique about consciousness.
Big Think on Quantum Physics
The fundamental problem with gravity and quantum physics
We have two descriptions of the Universe that work perfectly well: general relativity and quantum physics. Too bad they don't work together.
Our language is inadequate to describe quantum reality
The quantum world defies our ability to describe it in words. Human experience does not prepare us for its weirdness and uncertainty.
Big Think on Science
Why gravitational waves are the future of astronomy
We only detected our very first gravitational wave in 2015. Over the next two decades, we'll have thousands more.
Ask Ethan: How do fundamental particles create consciousness?
At a fundamental level, only a few particles and forces govern all of reality. How do their combinations create human consciousness?
Big Think on Space
17 pictures that show how mind-bogglingly large the Universe is
The observable Universe is 92 billion light-years in diameter. These pictures put just how large that is in perspective.
Can science ever discover the absolute truth about reality?
Is science absolute? Its truths and discoveries guide us towards the nature of reality, but we must always remain open-minded to revisions.
Big Think on Success
The 5-hour rule: How to turn a wasted day into a successful one
From Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk, the most successful people in the world share one thing: they allocate time in the day to learning.
«5-hour rule.” In short, this is the rule where we spend one hour a day learning, reflecting, and thinking. The rule dates to Benjamin Franklin»
5 ways to set yourself up for success
Any success formula must start with your values and life goals. Here are five ways to find those and set yourself up for success.
«Success isn’t a condition without failure; it’s the condition of overcoming failure and improving.»
These are some all-time favorites with Refind users.
An ancient technique can improve your attention span
Modern conditions have overwhelmed our brain's attention system, but research shows 12 minutes of mindfulness training a day can help.
«Similarly, a negative mood can signal that something is wrong. That unease can propel you to solve the problem and lift the emotional pall.»
3 rules to express your thoughts so that everyone will understand you
It can be challenging to express your thoughts clearly. Alan Alda recommends three rules of three for effective and empathic communication.
«Maybe this sounds familiar: You’re expressing a difficult idea, thought, or feeling, and at the moment, it seems to be going well. Your audience is nodding at the appropriate beats. Your cadence has an uncharacteristic flow and eloquence. You even snuck in the world profligate and are 90% sure you used it properly. (Well, 80% sure. Definitely going to look it up later.)»
This 715-song playlist is scientifically verified to give you the chills, thanks to "frisson"
Listening to some songs can cause a powerful physiological response known as "frisson." What is it, and why does it happen?
«While it is understood that appreciation of beauty is central to what makes us human, it is not clear to researchers what»
We all can reach a "flow state." Here's how.
Journalist Steven Kotler offers tips for how to reach a psychological flow state, granting peak mental performance.
«Curiosity can lead you to become passionate about something, which can in turn drive that thing to give you purpose. The activity itself becomes fulfilling. It is the means and the end.»
Theory of mind: What chess and drug dealers can teach you about manipulation
From grandmasters to drug dealers, people who make deft use of "theory of mind" can remain several steps ahead of their rivals.
«Every social interaction is a game of chess, trying to get inside someone’s head to navigate what they are thinking or what they will do.»
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