You are Creative & Smarter, if You're Daydreaming at Work
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Do you get lost in thoughts at work and think that hampers your productivity? Need not to be ashamed of it, now. Scientists have found that mind wandering at work or home may not be as bad as you think.
A new research study by Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, US, suggests that daydreaming during meetings isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can actually be a sign that you’re really smart and creative.
According to the co-author of study and Georgia Tech psychology professor, Eric Schumacher people with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their mind from wandering.
The study was conducted by the lead co-author Christine Godwin with Schumacher and his students by measuring the brain patterns of more than 100 people while they lay in an MRI machine. The participants were instructed to focus on a stationary fixation point for five minutes, and filled a questionnaire about how much their mind wander in daily life. Then the team used the data to identify which parts of the brain worked in unison.
“The correlated brain regions gave us insight about which areas of the brain work together during an awake, resting state,” stated Godwin, a Georgia Tech psychology Ph.D. candidate.
“Interestingly, research has suggested that these same brain patterns measured during these states are related to different cognitive abilities,” said researchers.
Frequent daydreaming scores higher intellectual and creative level with the brain, said reasearcher.
“People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can’t,” said Schumacher. “Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn’t always true. Some people have more efficient brains.”
“Higher efficiency means more capacity to think, and the brain may mind wander when performing easy tasks,” said Schumacher.
How can you tell if your brain is efficient? One clue is that you can zone in and out of conversations or tasks when appropriate, then naturally tune back in without missing important points or steps.
“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,” said Schumacher. “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.”
Godwin and Schumacher think the findings open the door for follow-up research to further understand when mind wandering is harmful, and when it may actually be helpful.