A new story from The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman


When I'm fantastic about things, I don't want that out of my head. Now, you know what I'm saying? So there's certainly our moments when we're thinking and it is just contained to our body, isn't that right? Or no, never? Is the does the mind ever stop at the skull? Is that the question? Or does it always extend? Is there always? Yeah. I think I would say there are always as an extended mind. I've never been asked that question, so I'm really thinking about it. But for one thing, the fact that we have language, the fact that we have structures of thought and conventions of thought, those are all relics or artifacts of our interactions with other people, right? So in a sense, we have no thoughts without other people without our social experience of a lifetime. So I think from the very beginning, our minds are extended. I don't know that there's any way around that. Because of their influence, like the influence of the environment on the thoughts we're thinking. Yeah. And we're always doing our thinking in a particular body. We're always doing our thinking in a particular place, we're always doing it in some kind of social context, even when we're alone. So yeah, I don't think I don't think that is ever not extended. You know, as you know, I'm very interested in genius and giftedness, giftedness and kids that can do amazing calculations in their head and are capable of learning far beyond their years. There's a certain part where they can clean the credit for their brain that their unique brain they have, and then there's another hand of a lot of the rich resources, a lot of them may have had and aspects that you. So it seems like there's a mix. I don't think you want to you're going in so far as to suggest that there's no brain processes that are, you know, I don't get that from you. Yeah, no, no, I would never want to say that the brain is not central to thinking. I like to think of it in terms of redefining the brain's role, not as the place where it all happens, but rather a more dynamic kind of role of I like to compare it to an orchestra conductor. I like to the entity that's coordinating all these resources and bringing them all together. And when we think about thinking in that way, to me, it opens up all these options because now it's not a matter of just sitting there working your brain until the task is done. You have all these other resources to draw on, you know, maybe you need to go for a walk or maybe you need to have a conversation with a friend or maybe you need to act out what you're the problem you're trying to solve with your body and with your gestures. So to me, it's a very optimistic vision of our potential and how we can expand our potential. Definitely optimistic, definitely. And optimistic and also as you point out, it can give us compassion for people and suboptimal conditions. So it's not always optimistic in the sense, you know, some people are certain environments where they're extended mind is dreck as my father would say. Well, yeah, I mean. And that's why I think there's another blind spot here when we're talking about judging people on what presumably or ostensibly their brains are able to produce. And judging their outcomes as if their brains are the end of the story. But because the raw materials that we have to think with are such.

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