Mitt, FOX, Andy Clarke discussed on The Psychology Podcast
At all i mean are there. It's it. Seems intuitive like intuitively to me that there are moments where my mind is just to myself. I want it to be out that out of my head now. You know what. I'm saying like mitt. There certainly are moments when we're thinking and it is just contained to to our body. Isn't that right or no never is is the does the mind ever stop at the at the at the skull is that does that. The question like or does it always extend that is is always visiting. Yeah i think. I would say there are always an extended mind. I've never been asked that question. So i'm i'm really thinking about it. But for one thing the fact that we have language the fact that we have structures of sod and conventions of thought those are all relics 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 fox were thinking. Yeah and we're always doing our thinking in a particular body always doing our thinking in a particular place grow is doing it in some kind of social context even when we're alone so yeah i don't think i don't think thought is ever not extended you know i'm very interestingly genius giftedness giftedness and and kids that can do amazing calculations in their head into are capable of learning far beyond their years There's a certain certain part where they they can clean the credit for the brain that the their unique bring they have and then there's another hand of lot of the some of the rich resources. A lotta them may have had and asks you table so it seems like. There's there's a mix like i don't i don't think you want you're going and so far as to suggest that there's there's no Brain process sees that are you. I don't get that from you. Yeah no no. I would never want to say the that the brain is not central to thinking. I just i. 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 like i like to compare it to an orchestra conductor like to someone to the entity. That's coordinating all these resources and bringing them all together and we think about sinking in that way to me. It opens up all these options. Because now you're 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. You know what you're the problem you're trying to solve with your body and with your gesture so to me it's a very optimistic vision of of of our potential and how we can expand our potential definitely optimistic definitely and optimistic and also as you as you point out. It can give us compassion for for Sub optimal conditions. So it's not always optimistic. In the sense you know some people are in certain environments where their extended mind is is drek as my father would say. Well yeah i mean. I'm real and that's why i think there's a there is another blindspot here when we're talking about. Judging people on wet presumably or or sensibly their brains are able to produce and and judging their 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 an important aspect of our ability to think intelligently it matters the quality of the raw materials that we have access to and whether we know how to use them skillfully so once you bring that aspect into awareness it seems crazy to me to judge people on their their ability to think intelligently as if all that matters is inside their brains and not to look at the wide angle lens of like. But you know what are they free to move. Their bodies are they in a place that is quiet and orderly and supportive of of intelligent thinking. Are they do. They have a network of mentors and peers and teachers who can help them. Thank you know all those things matter hugely to how intelligently were able to think and those things are not in any way equitably distributed great point and they're also You know just that doesn't look like what an i q test all jelicic off right when you're supposed to sit there without moving in your in a strange place without any of your usual accused around and you're not allowed to talk to your neighbor who's taking the iq tests alongside you. I mean it's it's an incredibly brain bound. As andy clarke would say brain bound approach to intelligence and misses the to me the vast you know repository of human intelligence that we draw in all the time in ordinary real life situations. It seems like cove is relevant to this discussion as well because there must've been a implications of living during the pandemic for Our our brain bound way of thinking we realized just how extended the mind really is during this him. is that right. yeah l. I really think so. Yes i mean we. I think during the during the period when things are really shutdown. We were all kind of brains in front of screens for months at a time. You know and i think a couple of insights came out of that for me. Was that you know. If we're going to take seriously this model of of grit or the growth mindset wherein you know the idea is if you work your brain harder and harder if you give it more exercise the way you know you exercised muscle gets stronger a lot of working our brains a whole lot during the pandemic because we had no commute we had no chats with co workers. We were just you know working working working. And it's not as if we many did not feel that our brains were at their best or were at the in fine form because there were a lot of other things that we were now being deprived of that we were being cut off from because of the pandemic we may not have been moving as much a lot of us just sort of sat in front of our our computers. Day after day we weren't visiting new and stimulating places. We weren't interacting with people in person sat one professor said to me that he felt cut off from his extended mind because he wasn't allowed to go into his university office and the way his books were arranged in in the shelves around him formed kind of external memory and an external body of knowledge that he was cut off from because he couldn't be in office. I think the fact that our minds are extended became much more apparent to too many of us during the pandemic. the implications for children is striking in fact anti duckworth who You know you're talking about grit of you go. I'm she co authored. A big study on some implications of Children not being able to go to school and being and And you know she found. There's huge implications Very very high levels of anxiety and And goes to goes to show the extent to which just learning a contextual really not all that matters for sculpture now belonging needs met. Have they're having their other. Basic needs and growth needs in that raid. Yeah the idea that all that matters is the transfer of information from one brain to another her is such a limited and constrained idea of what learning is and how it happens and it's it's not an accurate view at all of how that happens for kids or for adults for that matter.