Are you a day dreamer? While it’s typically thought of negatively a new study now suggest that daydreaming may indicate you’re really smart and creative.
“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” said Eric Schumacher, co-author of the study.
The brain patterns of more than 100 participants were measured as part of the George Institute of Technology study. During an MRI participants were instructed to focus on a stationary point for five minutes. They used this data to identify which parts of the brain worked in unison.
They then compared this with tests that measured intellectual and creative ability. Participants were also asked to fill in questionnaires about how often their mind wandered in day-to-day life.
The team of researchers found that those who reported more frequent daydreaming scored higher on intellectual and creative ability. Furthermore, they had more efficient brain systems measured by the MRI.
“People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can’t,” said Schumacher. “Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn’t always true. Some people have more efficient brains.”
Is your brain efficient?
Study authors define higher efficiency as meaning more capacity to think. So how can you tell if your brain is more efficient? One telltale sign is that you can zone in and out of conversation or tasks and naturally tune back in without missing important steps or points.
“Our findings remind me of the absent-minded professor — someone who’s brilliant, but off in his or her own world, sometimes oblivious to their own surroundings,” said Schumacher. “Or children who are too intellectually advanced for their classes. While it may take five minutes for their friends to start learning something new, they figure it out in a minute, then check out and start daydreaming.”
Tame your day dreaming mind
While daydreaming may mean you’re more intelligent and creative it can still be a nuisance. Particularly when you’re trying to work or study. Here are some quick tips to help tame your wandering mind if it’s getting in the way of your day.
- Give your mind more to do. If you’re trying to focus in a big work meeting taking notes or doodling can help.
- Test yourself. Pause and test yourself during the lecture or presentation to make sure you’re really paying attention.
- Pick a time and a place. Give your mind a chance to wander every now and then.