A study from the Georgia Institute of Technology indicates that a wandering mind is not a bad thing. It might be an indication that a person is creative and smart.
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Eric Schumacher, the Georgia Tech associate psychology professor and co-author of the study stated: “People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,”
Schumacher and his team of researchers, including Christine Godwin, lead co-author of the study, evaluated the brain patterns of over 100 people using MRI. Participants were asked to pay attention on a stationary fixed point for five minutes.
Godwin, a Georgia Tech psychology Ph.D. candidate stated that the correlated regions of the brain provided an understanding about the brain regions that work together during a resting, awake state. Interestingly, research has indicated that similar brain patterns, to those found in a resting state are associated with various other cognitive capabilities.
Researchers compared the reports with trials that evaluated the creativity and intellectual ability of the participants, after determining how the brain works together at rest. Participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire about how much their mind deviated in daily life.
Participants who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on creativity and intellectual ability and were found to have more effective brain systems measured with the MRI.
Schumacher suggests that the higher efficiency signifies more thinking capacity, and the brain may daydream while completing easy tasks.
One easy way to tell if a person’s brain is efficient, is if the person can zone in and out of tasks or conversations when appropriate, then innately tune back in without missing significant steps or points.
Godwin and Schumacher suggest that the findings of the study will help researchers to further understand when day dreaming is risky, and when it may essentially be useful.
Godwin indicated that there are also some significant distinct differences to consider, like a person’s intent or motivation to stay attentive on a specific task.