Scientists scanning the brains of people inside MRI machines found that a "default network" deep inside a human brain becomes more active during daydreaming. The scans also revealed intense activity in the executive network, the outlying region of the brain associated with complex problem-solving, said neuroscientist Kalina Christoff.
According to Cosmos Magazine:
"People assume that when the mind wanders away it just gets turned off ~ but we show the opposite, that when it wanders, it turns on," said Christoff, head of a neuroscience laboratory at the University of British Columbia.The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest daydreaming might be a better way to solve problems than intense focusing."People who let themselves daydream might not think in the same focused way as when performing a goal-oriented task, but they bring in more mental and brain resources," said Christoff.She argued that now people might change their attitudes towards daydreamers. "Within ourselves, we have absorbed that attitude that mind wandering is a bad thing. We're harsh on ourselves, if we catch ourselves mind wandering," she said. "A more playful attitude might allow you to call in more resources."
Some research indicates people typically spend a third of their waking time daydreaming. "It's a big part of our lives, but it's been largely ignored by science," Christoff said.
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Painting is "The Daydream" by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1880.