(as of Mar 17,2023 15:43:24 UTC – Details)
A New York Times Editors’ Choice
A Washington Post Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
A New York Times Notable Book
A bold new book reveals how we can tap the intelligence that exists beyond our brains—in our bodies, our surroundings, and our relationships
Use your head.
That’s what we tell ourselves when facing a tricky problem or a difficult project. But a growing body of research indicates that we’ve got it exactly backwards. What we need to do, says acclaimed science writer Annie Murphy Paul, is think outside the brain. A host of “extra-neural” resources—the feelings and movements of our bodies, the physical spaces in which we learn and work, and the minds of those around us— can help us focus more intently, comprehend more deeply, and create more imaginatively.
The Extended Mind outlines the research behind this exciting new vision of human ability, exploring the findings of neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and examining the practices of educators, managers, and leaders who are already reaping the benefits of thinking outside the brain. She excavates the untold history of how artists, scientists, and authors—from Jackson Pollock to Jonas Salk to Robert Caro—have used mental extensions to solve problems, make discoveries, and create new works. In the tradition of Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind or Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, The Extended Mind offers a dramatic new view of how our minds work, full of practical advice on how we can all think better.
From the Publisher
Science writer Annie Murphy Paul on THE EXTENDED MIND: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain
Over many years of elementary school, high school, and even college and graduate school, we’re never explicitly taught to think outside the brain; we’re not shown how to employ our bodies and spaces and relationships in the service of intelligent thought. Yet this instruction is available if we know where to look; our teachers are the artists and scientists and authors who have figured out these methods for themselves, and the researchers who are, at last, making these methods the object of study.
Our culture insists that the brain is the sole locus of thinking, a cordoned-off space where cognition happens, much like the workings of my laptop are sealed inside its aluminum case. This book argues otherwise: it holds that the mind is something more like the nest-building bird I spotted on my walk, plucking a bit of string here, a twig there, constructing a whole out of available parts.
For humans these parts include, most notably, the feelings and movements of our bodies; the physical spaces in which we learn and work; and the other minds with which we interact—our classmates, colleagues, teachers, supervisors, friends.
The Extended Mind suggests that the things and the space around us have a profound effect on how we think, feel, and develop. There are profound cultural implications and socioeconomic implications that are essential for us to understand. Here are a few of the lessons we all can learn to take better advantage of the world outside our brains to improve the way we think and help our brains reach their full potential. Some lessons from The Extended Mind:
Information Overload: The world is full of too much information for our conscious minds to register. But our non-conscious minds are far more capacious, and they are continually collecting data points and identifying patterns in the world around us. It’s the internal sensations of the body—our “gut feelings”—that alert us to these patterns, and our sensitivity to these signals can be increased with simple exercises.
Moving Our Bodies: Working at a treadmill desk, taking a brisk walk during a coffee break, or even engaging in fidgeting or doodling helps keep our attention sharp and our ideas flowing. And extremely vigorous exercise can induce state of free-ranging creativity that scientists compare to a drug trip.
Use Your Hands: The gestures we make are not mere handwaving; when used strategically, they can improve our communication with others and even enhance our own thinking. People we’re talking to are more than 50 percent more likely to remember a point we make when a gesture accompanies it; students who incorporate gestures into their study habits remember almost 40 percent more of the material than students who don’t.
Better Together: Engaging in synchronous activity with others—walking or exercising together, even sharing a meal—leads us to behave more cooperatively and be more successful in pursuing shared goals. (The effect is heightened if the food is served family-style and if it’s very spicy.)
Take an “awe walk”: Spend time outdoors, allowing yourself to wonder at and be moved by nature’s majesty. Psychologists say that awe can act as a “reset button” for the human brain, shaking us loose from old patterns and opening us up to new possibilities.
Publisher : Mariner Books (June 8, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 0544947665
ISBN-13 : 978-0544947665
Item Weight : 1.28 pounds
Dimensions : 6 x 1.19 x 9 inches