Daydreaming Can Actually Help You Get Stuff Done, Study Finds

By David Shamah, The Times of Israel March 09, 2015 Comments

This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Teachers may now need to reconsider reprimanding daydreaming students in class, as a new Israeli study found that mind-wandering actually enhances brain performance and prepares the mind for complex tasks.

In a study published in February in American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Bar-Ilan University were able to show that, contrary to common belief, a wandering mind does not hamper the ability to accomplish a task, but actually improves it.\

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This surprising result may occur due to the convergence of both “thought-freeing” activity and “thought-controlling” mechanisms in a single region of the brain, according to Professor Moshe Bar, director of the University’s Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center.

daydreaming

“Over the last 15 or 20 years, scientists have shown that – unlike the localized neural activity associated with specific tasks – mind wandering involves the activation of a gigantic default network [of] many parts of the brain,” said Bar. “This cross-brain involvement may be involved in behavioral outcomes such as creativity and mood, and may also contribute to the ability to stay successfully on-task while the mind goes off on its merry mental way.”

The Israeli researchers were also able to show that an external stimulus can substantially increase the rate at which daydreaming occurs, which in turn offers a positive effect on task performance.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

Photos: Sheldon NalosNoah Sydnor

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