Navigation Links
Brain's problem-solving function at work when we daydream
Date:5/11/2009

A new University of British Columbia study finds that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that activity in numerous brain regions increases when our minds wander. It also finds that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving previously thought to go dormant when we daydream are in fact highly active during these episodes.

"Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness or inattentiveness," says lead author, Prof. Kalina Christoff, UBC Dept. of Psychology. "But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream much more active than when we focus on routine tasks."

For the study, subjects were placed inside an fMRI scanner, where they performed the simple routine task of pushing a button when numbers appear on a screen. The researchers tracked subjects' attentiveness moment-to-moment through brain scans, subjective reports from subjects and by tracking their performance on the task.

The findings suggest that daydreaming which can occupy as much as one third of our waking lives is an important cognitive state where we may unconsciously turn our attention from immediate tasks to sort through important problems in our lives.

Until now, the brain's "default network" which is linked to easy, routine mental activity and includes the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC), the posterior cingulate cortex and the temporoparietal junction was the only part of the brain thought to be active when our minds wander.

However, the study finds that the brain's "executive network" associated with high-level, complex problem-solving and including the lateral PFC and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex also becomes activated when we daydream.

"This is a surprising finding, that these two brain networks are activated in parallel," says Christoff. "Until now, scientists have thought they operated on an either-or basis when one was activated, the other was thought to be dormant." The less subjects were aware that their mind was wandering, the more both networks were activated.

The quantity and quality of brain activity suggests that people struggling to solve complicated problems might be better off switching to a simpler task and letting their mind wander.

"When you daydream, you may not be achieving your immediate goal say reading a book or paying attention in class but your mind may be taking that time to address more important questions in your life, such as advancing your career or personal relationships," says Christoff.


'/>"/>

Contact: Basil Waugh
basil.waugh@ubc.ca
604-822-2048
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Doctors learn to control their own brains pain responses to better treat patients
2. From brains to behavior: Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features methods for neuroscience research
3. Brains R Us: Neuroscience and education town hall
4. Big brains arose twice in higher primates
5. The satellite navigation in our brains
6. Old and young brains rely on different systems to remember emotional content
7. Rice University psychologist finds womens brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
8. Our brains make their own marijuana: Were all pot heads deep inside
9. Snakes and how they helped our big brains evolve
10. Geron Demonstrates hESC-derived cardiomyocytes improve heart function after myocardial infarction
11. Device helps patients survive, regain function til transplant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Brain's problem-solving function at work when we daydream
(Date:4/18/2017)... 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging ... server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A ... Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan ... at the Las Vegas Convention Center April ... Click here for ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by ... Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to ... USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 No ... but researchers at the New York University Tandon ... of Engineering have found that partial similarities between ... systems used in mobile phones and other electronic ... The vulnerability lies in the fact ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract research, development and ... outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its impurity solutions as ... regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization of ICH M7 ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its 4th ... in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office bearers, ... and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device compliance, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, Inc. ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on August ... MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of Orthopedic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: