Being a daydreamer is a sign that you are intelligent and creative, new research concludes.
The result comes from a study in which over 100 people had their brains scanned while they stared at a fixed point for five minutes.
The researchers wanted to see how their brains worked in unison when they were given nothing in particular to do.
People whose brains worked more efficiently had greater intellectual abilities and also reported more daydreaming in their everyday lives.
Dr Eric Schumacher, study co-author, said:
“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering.[…]
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.”
One way to tell if your brain is more efficient is if you naturally zone out of conversations…
…but when you tune back in, you find you haven’t really missed anything.
Dr Schumacher said:
“Our findings remind me of the absent-minded professor — someone who’s brilliant, but off in his or her own world, sometimes oblivious to their own surroundings.
Or school children who are too intellectually advanced for their classes.
While it may take five minutes for their friends to learn something new, they figure it out in a minute, then check out and start daydreaming.”
Next the researchers are hoping to look at when mind wandering is useful and when it is not so useful.
Ms Christine A. Godwin, the study’s first author, said:
“There are important individual differences to consider as well, such as a person’s motivation or intent to stay focused on a particular task.”
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The study was published in the journal Neuropsychologia (Godwin et al., 2017).