Frequently zone out? You could be smarter than you think.
Ever find your mind wandering during a meeting, or even in the middle of a particularly dull conversation? While you should definitely work on your capacity to focus, your daydreaming might not be an entirely bad thing. In fact, a new study has found that daydreaming and intelligence are closely linked.
“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” says study co-author Eric Schumacher, an associate psychology professor at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Schumacher and his team examined data from more than 100 people. They gave them tests measuring their intellectual and creative ability and measured their brain patterns using an MRI machine.
Research on daydreaming and intelligence: The results
Those who reported more frequent daydreaming had higher intellectual and creative ability scores, and also had more efficient brain systems.
“People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad,” says Schumacher. “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.”
He says that when performing easy tasks, more efficient minds may wander. One sign of an efficient brain is the ability to tune in and out of a conversation or task without missing anything important.
The correct way to daydream
Some studies have round that daydreaming can actually help solve problems and focus. But there is a right way to daydream. In the book Tinker Dabble Doodle Try by Dr. Srini Pillay, he calls the right way of daydreaming “positive constructive daydreaming.”
This, he says, is letting your mind wander “on a leash”. Instead of rehashing your worries or that embarrassing conversation you had at last weekend’s party, he says we should daydream to plan and rehearse for what’s to come. This, he says, will help you “realise things about the future that you would miss otherwise.”
He says we should set aside some time every day to just turn your attention inward and reflect on what’s to come. His advice? Pillay writes: “Sit back, relax, and daydream yourself to success.”
Are you a daydreamer? Let us know your thoughts on the link between daydreaming and intelligence!
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