A recent study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has suggested that daydreaming at work or in school isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, the study found that daydreaming might be a sign that you are smart and creative. According to the co-author of the study Eric Schumacher, people who have efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their mind from wandering.
The study measured brain patterns of over 100 people while they lay in an MRI machine. The people were told to focus on a fixed point for five minutes and the data collected was used to identify parts of the brain that work in unison. The data gave the team insight into parts of the brain that work together during an awake resting state.
Christine Godwin, the lead co-author of the study, says that research has shown that the same brain patterns measured during these states are related to different cognitive abilities. The next step was to compare the data with tests meant to measure participants intellectual and creative ability. The study participants also answered a questionnaire that asked about how much their minds wander during daily life.
The results of the study determined that in some people a wandering mind isn’t a bad thing. In some people, the brain is much more efficient and the mind may wander while performing easy tasks. If your brain is efficient, the team says that you might be able to zoom in or out of conversations or tasks when appropriate and then tune back in naturally without missing important data.
The researchers say that their study opens the door for follow-up research. The team wants to figure out in future research when mind wandering is harmful and when it’s helpful.