Daydreaming is Good for You

I’m a fan of daydreaming so finding out that it helps one process information and be more creative has made my day!

Here’s where things get interesting: those students assigned to the boring task performed far better when asked to come up with additional uses for everyday items to which they had already been exposed. Given new items, all the groups did the same. Given repeated items, the daydreamers came up with forty-one per cent more possibilities than students in the other conditions.

What does this mean? Schooler argues that it’s clear evidence that those twelve minutes of daydreaming allowed the subjects to invent additional possibilities, as their unconscious minds pondered new ways to make use of toothpicks. This is why the effect was limited to those items that the subjects had previously been asked about—the question needed to marinate in the mind, “incubating” in those subterranean parts of the brain we can barely control.

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I’m a Daydream Believer

Those silly monkees might have been right after all, it is good to believe in daydreamers as they might solve problems faster.

“People assume that when the mind wanders away it just gets turned off – but we show the opposite, that when it wanders, it turns on,” said Christoff, co-author of the study, and head of a neuroscience laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Western Canada.

The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest daydreaming might be a better way to solve problems than intense focusing.

“People who let themselves daydream might not think in the same focused way as when performing a goal-oriented task, but they bring in more mental and brain resources,” said Christoff.

She argued that now people might change their attitudes towards daydreamers.

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