Daydreaming shows your smartness, creativity
Mind-wandering can offer significant personal rewards including self- awareness, creative incubation, improvisation and evaluation, memory consolidation, autobiographical planning and many more.
Worried about the habit of daydreaming or a wandering mind during meetings in office or at home? Take heart, it may not be as bad as you think, but a sign that you are really smart and creative, researchers say.
The findings showed people with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering when performing easy tasks.
"People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can't. Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn't always true. Some people have more efficient brains," said Eric Schumacher, Associate Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US.
Higher efficiency means more capacity to think, and the brain may mind wander when performing easy tasks, he said.
For the study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, the team measured the brain patterns of people while they lay in an MRI machine.
The researchers then used the data to identify which areas of the brain work together during an awake, resting state.
"The correlated brain regions gave us insight about which areas of the brain work together during an awake, resting state," said Christine Godwin, doctoral student at the varsity.
"Interestingly, research has suggested that these same brain patterns measured during these states are related to different cognitive abilities," Godwin added.
Individuals who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on intellectual and creative ability and had more efficient brain systems measured in the MRI machine, the researchers said.
Daydreaming often leads to sudden connections and profound insights because it correlates with our ability to recall information in the face of distractions. In 2011, neuroscientists found that daydreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity.
Mind-wandering can offer significant personal rewards: These rewards include self- awareness, creative incubation, improvisation and evaluation, memory consolidation, autobiographical planning, goal driven thought, future planning, retrieval of deeply personal memories, reflective consideration of the meaning of events and experiences, simulating the perspective of another person, evaluating the implications of self and others' emotional reactions, moral reasoning, and reflective compassion... From this personal perspective, it is much easier to understand why people are drawn to mind wandering and willing to invest nearly 50 percent of their waking hours engaged in it.
When we see someone daydreaming, we have no idea what's going on in their head. These functions that all come from within – like imagination and mind-wandering – have been shown to be really important contributors to creativity."
It's smart to question whether we should always be living in the moment. The latest research on imagination and creativity shows that if we're always in the moment, we're going to miss out on important connections between our own inner mind-wandering thoughts and the outside world. Creativity lies in that intersection between our outer world and our inner world.