AboutTalk of Today PodcastEssays


The Free Energy Principle with Dr. Maxwell Ramstead

Show Notes

The Free Energy Principle is a formal description of how life resists entropy across scales by minimising surprise. Surprise here being an information-theoretic view of how unlikely a particular sensory state of an organism is, not the psychological phenomenon of surprise — though they are definitely linked. The free energy principle describes how organisms attempt to reduce the difference between their model of the world and their perception of it. Joining me to shed light on this topic is Maxwell Ramstead. Maxwell is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal and at the Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University. He has coauthored several papers in leading journals, which exploring the applications of the free energy principle to the dynamics of cognition and the mind, phenomenology, ecology, and socio-cultural systems.

In our conversation, we cover:

- What is the free energy principle?

- What is active inference?

- The 4 E A approach to cognition (embedded, embodied, enactive, extended and affective)

- Entropy

- Potential societal implications of the Free Energy Principle


- Maxwell's Twitter account

- Maxwell's Google Scholar accounts

- Free Energy Principle WIRED Article

- How Emotions are Made

- Podcast with Lisa Feldman Barrett

- Andy Clark Supersizing the mind

- Andy Clark and Chalmers the Extended mind

-Jospeh Henrik — The Secret of our Success


Related Episodes

The Free Energy Principle, Consciousness, & Psychedelics with Dr. Adam Safron

Concussions with Dr Fatima Nasrallah

This episode is with Dr Fatima Nasrallah, a senior scientist and researcher from the Queensland Brain Institute. Last year (2016), they released a publication called ‘The Brain’ where they highlight what the recent science has to say about concussions – particularly with regards to sport.

Meditation and the Brain with Dr Sara Lazar

My guest for this episode is Dr Sara Lazar from Harvard University. She’s a researcher who looks into the impacts that yoga and meditation have on various cognitive and behavioural functions.

How emotions are made with Dr Lisa Feldman Barrett

This episode is on emotions and how recent research has changed how we view these feelings that influence our lives.

The Free Energy Principle with Dr. Maxwell Ramstead

Explore a unifying principle of life and its implications for our societal evolution.