The Extended Mind by Annie Murphy Paul

The Big Idea: Thinking doesn’t just take place inside the brain; it also takes place outside the brain.

  • When your body (emotions/unconscious mind) is telling you something, listen to it; this is called interoception.
  • Practice meditation to improve your interoception abilities.
  • Regular walks can improve thinking.
  • Physical demonstrations helps students learn abstract concepts better.
  • Gestures can support understanding and learning.
  • Gestures take away cognitive load, so the brain can focus more intently.
  • Spending time in nature improves thinking; take a nature walk to help work out problems.
  • Working in a room with a view improves thinking.
  • Better design (collaborative spaces + quiet spaces, sense of ownership) improves thinking; aka neuroarchitecture.
  • The memory palace technique, concept mapping, and physical models all take advantage of the power of spatial thinking.
  • Imitating experts (apprenticeships) and coaching improves learning.
  • Working in groups improves thinking.
  • Teaching others (eg cascading mentorship) helps you master concepts.
  • Debate and Socratic Method are great tools for teaching and learning.
  • Storytelling is a powerful tool for understanding and remembering.
  • Group mind (collective intelligence) can sometimes be more powerful than individual minds.
  • Synchronized exercise or activity improves cooperation and emotional bonds between individuals.
  • Membership in a group can be a potent form of motivation.
  • Eating meals together improves group cohesion and cooperation.

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