Daydream equals Eureka
It's happened again - one of those satisfying moments of Hey! I knew that! But now it's official! which sometimes follow reading articles in New Scientist.
Listen to this, from Richard Risher, about the Wandering Mind:
"The experiment took place in three stages. First, the volunteers spent 2 minutes dreaming up unusual uses for a brick. Next, some were given a mindless task to complete, such as watching for letters on a screen. Others were given a much trickier test that required their full attention. As you might expect, subsequent questionnaires revealed that people drifted off significantly more in the mindless task. Finally, unexpectedly, all participants were asked to take another crack at the unusual uses task. This time, those whose minds had been wandering came up with, on average, 40 per cent more answers than on their first go. Those who'd had to concentrate on their task barely improved at all ...
... when questioned, the mind wanderers did not report that they had been thinking explicitly about the brick during their mindless task ... the message is that as you drift off into memories, thoughts of food or plans for your holiday, your brain is busily mulling over potential solutions for whatever problem you are trying to solve." (June 16 2012)
Hey! I knew that! It's happened to all of us, and what a relief it is, when the answer to a problem drops into our heads, out of the blue, when we've stopped obviously thinking about it ...
Now all I have to do is remind myself, next time I'm banging on uselessly, elbows to the grindstone, determined to resolve that hole in the plot - or even find a new use for bricks - by sheer, raw, rugged, relentless, hard graft. If I want my Eureka moment, I need to Daydream.
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