Science & Technology
12:20 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Researchers Say Daydreaming Aids High Function Brain Activity

A recently released study says that daydreaming may actually be beneficial to high-level brain activity. WAMC’s Melissa Bunning reports.…

Contrary to popular belief, our brains are functioning at higher levels when our minds wander.  Dr. Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, explains……

Schooler, and Kalina Christoff of the University of British Columbia, took functional magnetic resonance images, or fMRI scans, of subjects as they were instructed to press a button when numbers appeared on a screen.

What they found is that during performance of routine tasks, the brain’s default network, which includes the medial prefrontal cortex, the posterior cingulated cortex, and the temporoparietal junction, is completely active.

But when the subjects’minds wander, the executive network, which is involved in high-level, complex problem solving, is active and coordinating with the default network involved in routine activities.

As defined by Dr. Schooler, daydreaming is a mental thought unrelated to the here and now as well as any abstract idea.  Mind wandering is a class of day dreaming and occurs when you’re involved in any activity, such as gardening or reading a book, and you begin to daydream.

According to the study, some people may spend up to one-third of their waking life unwillingly daydreaming.  But, if you’re having trouble relaxing, or are losing control of your own thoughts, meditation or hypnotherapy may be a solution, as the results of these methods are similar to those of daydreaming. Again, Dr. Jonathan Schooler……

Joanne Friedman, hypnotherapist at Life Center: Counseling and Health Services in Huntington, New York, stresses the importance of thinking inwardly as a way to quiet your mind when there are so many stimuli in the external world at any given moment...

Dr. Schooler says much research is yet to be done in the realm of mind wandering and meditation, but studies do already show that taking time to step away from the outside world and focus on your inner thoughts is important for our problem solving, creativity, and overall well-being. Again, hypnotherapist Joanne Friedman……

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