Happiness predictive mind Many Minds Podcast
Oct 19, 2022

Happiness and the Predictive Mind with Dr. Mark Miller (podcast)

A “happiness aficionado” talks about conceptualizing the mind as an engine of knowledge-driven predictions and what this framework could mean for our wellbeing.

By Templeton Staff

Many Minds podcast host, cognitive scientist, and writer Kensy Cooperrider introduces the episode:

"There’s an old view of the mind that goes something like this: The world is flooding in, and we’re sitting back, just trying to process it all. Our minds are basically passive and reactive, always a step behind. Contrast that view with a new one that’s quickly gaining ground. According to this alternative, we don’t just react to the world, we anticipate it. We’re not leaning back but trying to stay a step ahead—our minds are fundamentally active and predictive. And our predictions aren’t just idle guesses, either—they’re shaping how we experience the world. This new view is known as the “predictive processing framework”, and it has implications, not just for how we perceive, but also for how we act and how we feel, for our happiness and our well-being.

My guest today is Dr. Mark Miller. Mark is a philosopher of cognition and senior research fellow at the Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies at Monash University. He’s part of a new wave of intensely interdisciplinary scholars who are working at the intersections of philosophy, neuroscience, and psychiatry.

Here, Mark and I sketch the predictive processing framework and unpack some of its key pillars. We discuss how this approach can inform our understanding of depression, addiction, and PTSD. We sketch out notions of loops and slopes, stickiness and rigidity, wobble and volatility, edges and grip. And, on the way, we will have a bit to say about video games, play, horror, psychedelics, and meditation.

This was all pretty new terrain for me, but Mark proved an affable and capable guide. If you enjoy this episode and want to explore some of these topics further, definitely check out the Contemplative Science Podcast, which Mark co-hosts."

Play the full episode with the above player.

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Templeton World Charity Foundation's Diverse Intelligences is a multiyear, global effort to understand a world alive with brilliance in many forms. Its mission is to promote open-minded, forward-looking inquiry in animal, human, and machine intelligences. We collaborate with leading experts and emerging scholars from around the globe, developing high-caliber projects that advance our comprehension of the constellation of intelligences.

Many Minds is a project of the Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute (DISI), made possible through a grant from TWCF to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The Many Minds podcast is hosted and produced by Kensy Cooperrider, with help from assistant producer Cecilia Padilla. Creative support is provided by DISI Directors Erica Cartmill and Jacob Foster. Artwork is by Ben Oldroyd.