The type of daydreaming that makes the mind more efficient

Posted on November 1, 2014

It used to be thought that when people are trying to solve puzzles, they perform best when the mind wandering part of the brain — called the ‘default network’ — is relatively inactive. This makes sense given that ‘off-task’ thinking is likely to distract our focus.

In contrast to other research, though, a new study suggests the default network can sometimes help with tasks that require focus and quick reactions.

The prevailing view is that activating brain regions referred to as the default network impairs performance on attention-demanding tasks because this network is associated with behaviors such as mind-wandering. This study is the first to demonstrate the opposite – that engaging the default network can also improve performance.

Whether mind wandering helps or hinders comes down to how in sync it is with the task itself.

Outside the laboratory, pursuing goals involves processing information filled with personal meaning – knowledge about past experiences, motivations, future plans and social context. This study suggests that the default network and executive control networks dynamically interact to facilitate an ongoing dialogue between the pursuit of external goals and internal meaning.

Click the link below to read the full article.

Source material from PSY Blog