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Daydreamers Are Smart

Daydreamers Are Smart

By Dr. Patrick Lovegrove Medically Reviewed by Lindsay Langley, BSN, RN, CHT
Posted Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Researchers Eric Schumacher and Christine Godwin from the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that people who daydream are thinkers, not slackers. They feel that these thinkers may have more brain capacity or more efficiency than the “average” person. Therefore people have to add more thoughts to the brain to keep it running correctly and improve brain health.

Using MRI imaging, the research group looked at the brain patterns of 100 participants. They were told to focus on a single point for 5 minutes. They wanted to identify which parts of the brain were working together while resting but awake.

The participants were also given questionnaires, to measure their IQ, creative abilities, and how their minds wandered during daily activities; then the data from the MRI was compared to the other findings. What they found was that there is a correlation between brain patterns and different abilities and thoughts. The daydreamers placed higher on raw intellect and creative thoughts with more efficiency as measured on MRI.

The team believes that this indicates more brain capacity for thinking and creation especially when the brain wanders during simple tasks. Therefore, daydreaming or mind-wandering indicates a more efficient brain, particularly if no information or steps are lost during the process. Intent or motivation plays a big part in the focus and completion of tasks, reflects Goodwin.

Schumacher says that this situation reminds her of brilliant people who seem to live in their world. Ignorant of their surroundings, yet are brilliant at what they do. It also seems to be true of intellectually gifted children whose mind begins to wander because they’re bored by the tedium of average class work. Repetition for the other kids drives them crazy and/or may cause them to become disruptive.

Focus on the task at hand is very important. However, Godwin and Schumacher believe more research is needed to determine at what point the daydreaming is positive or negative for an individual.

About the author

Dr. Patrick Lovegrove