Annie Murphy Paul || The Extended Mind

October 7, 2021

Today it’s great to have Annie Murphy Paul on the podcast. Annie writes about how the findings of cognitive science and psychology could help us to think and act more intelligently. Annie contributes to the New York Times Magazine and the New York Times Book Review, Slate, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among many other publications. She’s also the author of a number of books including The Cult of Personality, Origins, and most recently, The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain.

In this episode, I talk to Annie about the research and concepts in her new book The Extended Mind. We debunk the notion that intelligence is only in the brain by discussing how our bodies, spaces, and relationships all contribute to thought processes. Finally, we also touch on how to build knowledge and expertise through productive cognitive loops, cognitive unloading, and imitation.


  • 01:05 Thinking outside the brain  
  • 03:54 Individual differences in interoception
  • 09:51 Annie’s definition of intelligence
  • 13:30 Cognitive loops enhance intelligence
  • 15:31 Is the mind always extended?
  • 17:10 The brain’s dynamic role in thinking
  • 21:14 COVID-19 has turned us into “brains in front of screens”
  • 24:57 Information overload
  • 28:11 Using intuition to think rationally
  • 30:22 Expertise is not brain bound
  • 31:37 The best relationship hack: eat spicy food together
  • 33:50 The research behind The Extended Mind
  • 38:32 Cognitive unloading
  • 40:51 Mastery through imitation
  • 43:00 Scott’s theories about shared expertise
  • 45:39 Reminiscing about Annie’s first episode on The Psychology Podcast
  • 46:22 Embracing the extended heart



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