Ever find yourself in a situation where your body is sitting at your desk at work but your mind is wandering with little regard for your productivity? It can be a real pain, and lack of concentration is a huge bummer if you have serious work to do, but daydreaming isn’t all bad, at least according to a new study by the Georgia Institute of Technology. In fact, the research shows that if you catch yourself with a wandering mind on a regular basis, it might just be because your brain is bored of being good at everything.
“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” Eric Schumacher, a Georgia Tech associate psychology professor and co-author of the study, says.
The research was conducted with the help of over 100 participants, all of whom were asked to submit to an MRI. While the scan was being conducted, the research team asked each individual to focus their attention on a single, boring point. Inevitably their minds began to wander, and even as their eyes were locked in one place, their thoughts were free to explore.
Readings of brain activity patterns were performed on these individuals, and the data began to show a pattern. The brain patterns that were apparent in those who were daydreaming were also associated with other types of brain activity. The scientists then conducted tests to determine intelligence and creativity in each of the subjects, while also asking each of them to fill out a survey detailing how often they find themselves with a wandering mind.
The results were a strong correlation between those who daydream and higher intellectual capability, pointing to a link between strong-minded people and the habit of daydreaming. The researchers might be making a bit of a leap, but they believe this is because smarter individuals have more efficient brains, and therefore find themselves with extra brain power that inevitably gets spent on random thoughts.
“People tend to think of mind wandering as something that is bad. You try to pay attention and you can’t,” Schumacher said. “Our data are consistent with the idea that this isn’t always true. Some people have more efficient brains.”
So, the next time your boss catches you drifting off into wonderland, just remind them that it’s because you’re extremely smart. That’ll show ’em.