31 Days Project – The extended Mind

Professor Andy Clark is philosopher of mind and cognitive science. He has taught and written in areas of cognitive science, in particular his publication ‘Natural Born Cyborgs’ is an insightful read about the extended mind.

This episode of the 31 days project looks at an example of his work on the extended mind. The theory of extended mind claims that part of our minds are extended out into the world beyond the skin and not solely confined to the head. The extended mind is understood as a means of accessing memory and knowledge through our environment, outside of the mind so that humans can initiate action or intention via the body. Furthermore as we interact and react via sensorimotor function it is understood that the body is also part of our cognition. Therefore, the theory of ’embodied cognition’ claims that the whole body is involved in cognition, not just the brain. This further projects into the understanding of ownership and agency.

The clip is from the film Memento. Guy Pearce’s character has short term memory loss and so uses objects that he carries with him (pictures, notes) and tattoo’s his body in an attempt to recall memory so that he can interact with the outside environment and engage in conversation.  This is an example of the extended mind.  Something that we all do as humans. A more modern day tool as an example of our extended mind would be our smartphones.

Enjoy the clip.


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