Annie Murphy Paul on The Extended Mind

Key Points

  • The brain is dependent on setting, the body and social interaction to thrive and learn. 

  • As we think about learner experience, the body and surroundings, we must remember that relationships matter

The Extended Mind Podcast

On this episode of the Getting Smart Podcast, Tom Vander Ark is joined by Annie Murphy Paul author of the new book The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain. 

For the past decade, Annie has been a leading brain science writer on The Brilliant Blog. 

Let’s listen in as Tom and Annie discuss the importance of the body in using the mind, how this can be better applied in schools and distributed cognition. 

On Mindfulness

I do see mindfulness becoming a part of the curriculum at more and more schools.

Annie Murphy Paul

On Social Learning

We think of social life as being separate from academic life […] human beings are fundamentally social creatures, and we’re social all the time. The real trick is to harness our powerful social brains in the service of learning.

Annnie Murphy Paul


One person who shaped Annie’s mental model

Two key insights for edleaders (in summary) 

  • As we think about learner experience, the body and surroundings, we must remember that relationships matter.
  • As our understand of learning science continues to shift, we must reconsider learning goals and the purpose of learning/development.

One additional insight from Annie

  • The metaphors we use to understand ourselves shape our thinking. Brain as computer and brain as muscle are limited.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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This podcast highlights developing trends in K-12 education, postsecondary and lifelong learning. Each week, Getting Smart team members interview students, leading authors, experts and practitioners in research, tech, entrepreneurship and leadership to bring listeners innovative and actionable strategies in education leadership.

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