My Cognitive Parasite Made Me Do It! How can we become a person with an Extended Mind, by adopting traits from Parasitology?

23rd May 2018 (7pm)

Parasitology is the biological discipline on the study of parasites, their coupled hosts and the relationships between them. Human beings have been pejoratively described as being a parasite in terms of how they behave in relationships with partners, as young children feeding off our mothers and migrating to new countries to settle.


Active Externalism, in terms of Andy Clark, is related to the parameters of Extended Cognition. The basis of the Extended-Mind model, is that we as biological beings can “couple” with non-biological entities or features of our environment; to then expand and develop the entities that we are.


How we think and behave is dependant on our relationship with the external environment outside of the brain. The mind extends beyond the brain to learn from and feed off the environment. By adopting certain traits from parasite-host interactions, we can then put these behaviours into practice beyond our own flesh to become a productively extended mind.


Our minds interrupt the external environment, in the same way we parasitise new hosts. Both occasions are productive, as our minds are extended beyond the flesh; creating changes through interactions with objects in the environments we place ourselves in. Are there new ways of actively externalising our minds, by looking deeper into how parasitology plays out?


Through a combination of introductory lectures and a round table discussion from Dr Amber Jacobs (Senior Lecturer in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck University), Roser Cañigueral (PhD student at the Social Neuroscience Group, UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), Prof Tina Forster (Professor of Psychology and Director Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (CRNU) at City University), and Parasitologist Dr Helena Helmby (Associate Professor at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine), we will be discussing the parameters of the Extended Mind and Active Externalism through the vessel of the parasite. Locating how parasites behave beyond their own flesh into new host environments; running parallel to how human bodies can extend beyond the boundaries of skin.


We are looking forward to seeing you on the 23rd May at 7pm, for a parasitised discussion. Make sure to reserve your spot by clicking here


This event has been organised in collaboration between THECUBE London and BEYOND THE BRAIN, an artist collective from the Central Saint Martins MA Art and Science. This roundtable discussion commences our series of exploratory research seminars, which provides practitioners from interdisciplinary fields to share insights and perspectives on the subject. Click here to learn more about this residency programme!