New York Times Magazine, Oprah Magazine, David Chalmers discussed on The Psychology Podcast


To the new york times magazine the new york times book review sleet and the oprah magazine among many other publications. She's also the author of a number of books including the cold personality origins and most recently the extended mind the power of thinking outside the brain and he thanks for coming on the psychology podcast again after being our very first guest ever thank you so much scott. I'm so happy to be back. You know seven years later seven years. Wow and look at all the people you've talked to in the seven years. It's amazing i was gonna say look books you've done since then. I have not been as prolific as you that that is for sure. Come on now. I love your work as you know. I'm a big fan This latest book is no exception in this new book. You invite the reader to quote. Think outside the brain can you. Can you tell our listeners. A little bit. What that what that means to you to think outside the brain. Sure yes Well i borrowed the idea of the extended mind from two philosophers andy clark and david chalmers and their idea which i think i hopefully expanded upon and elaborated on is that we don't just think with our brains. We think with the world around us and in my book. I explore in the insertive. More minute detail what that means we think with our bodies our bodies below the next because of course the brain is part of the body but we think with the rest of our bodies we think with the spaces in which we learn in work and we think with the minds of other people and to conceive of thinking in this way is is It's a departure from how we're used to thinking about thinking which is you know. Everything goes on inside the head. And all of our efforts that cultivating intelligence and effective thinking seemed to be directed at improving. How the brain functions and. I wanted to nudge people to think about. What are those other resources that we pull into our thinking processes in. how can we do that more skillfully. Yeah you make the case that we pay too little attention to the body in discussions about intelligence. I mean just the whole language of the that person's rainy says that person smart arm. But why is that. Misguided tell us why misguided about you know how it's not just the brain and may well that idea that the body has nothing to contribute to intelligence in a metaphor. that really animates much are thinking about thinking. and that is the computer Sorry the brain as computer metaphor. We think of the brain as being like a computer like a processor of information. And that's actually not. How human works you know we we evolved. We evolved in a setting that made use of our entire body all the time our movements are gestures the internal signals that rise up from within our body all of these contribute to our thinking all the time but again we're used to thinking of thinking as happening only in the brain and so we have a blind spot in a sense for all the ways that the body and its capabilities contribute to intelligent that you talk a little lot lot in your book about interception very exciting field. It's tied up with this. Emerging research on embodied cognition free book for sure Can you tell us a little about what interception is and maybe even individual differences in that. Because i am very interested individual differences aspect. Yes yes so. Interception is a kind of fancy technical word for gut feelings. You know those feelings that arise within your body that gives you a sense of of something of knowing something but the the notion doesn't seem to come from your brain actually feels like it's coming from within your body and in fact just like we have all these sensors that take information from the world outside. We have sensors located all throughout the inside of our body that center the brain this continuous flow of information about how the body is doing weather balance of state of balance being maintained. What actions need to be taken to maintain a state of balance and in terms of individual differences. It does seem to be the case that people are really widely distributed across the spectrum in terms of how sensitive they are to their internal signals. How attuned they are to those signals. The sort of standard test of interest up sensitivity is is the heartbeat detection tests. So it's like the the how that works is that people are asked to name the moment when their heart is beating. And what's interesting. Is that some people immediately. Take to the task and say oh. Yeah i i know when my heart is beating and other people are like what are you talking about like. I have no idea what my heart is beating and it's the same the heartbeat detection test. The heartbeat is a kind of proxy or stand in for the whole range of interests up. Sensations that we feel and and across all those many intercept of sensations people are different in terms of how sensitive they are to those sensations. And it's not entirely clear. Why does individual differences exist. It may be Partly genetic maybe partly the kinds of messages that people got growing up from their caregivers about how legitimate it was to pay attention to those internal signals and take them seriously. You know some people were told you know you're not hungry. It's not dinnertime yet. Or you know. Or we're kind of encouraged put those internal signals aside. And i think more generally in our society. There's not we don't have a lot of patience for or or affinity for those internal signals and really taking them seriously. So i think all of us no matter where we stand on. That spectrum of of introspective atonement could probably benefit from from becoming more sensitive to those internal signals. And cues does is mindful. Meditation does that alter intercept of abilities. It seems to it seems to have that effect in particular the activity. That is often part of mindfulness meditation. Known as the the body scan where you pay objective non-judgmental accepting open-minded attention to whatever sensations. Rise up from your body and you kind of go part by part you know like i feeling what's what's there to be felt in your feet and in your legs and in your hips and in your stomach and then all the way up through the body and just being very aware of what..

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