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Old November 16th, 2012, 04:47 PM   #1

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So, what's the deal with wondering minds?


We see research indicating that daydreaming can increase creativity, and then there is research indicating that wondering minds are a sign of unhappiness and lead to aging. So, what's the scoop with this?

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CINCINNATI - The next time you are called out for daydreaming just say that you’re working on your creative side.
Psychological Science developed a study researching the links between daydreaming and creativeness. The results concluded that taking a break to let your mind run free may actually be beneficial.
A link between creative problem-solving and daydreaming was found by researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In their study, they had participants engage in an “unusual use task”— in which they would take an object and try to figure out as many ways as possible to use it.


Read more: Can daydreaming boost your creativity?
Can daydreaming boost your creativity?

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Wandering minds associated with aging cells

UCSF study finds association between attentional state and length of telomeres


Scientific studies have suggested that a wandering mind indicates unhappiness, whereas a mind that is present in the moment indicates well-being. Now, a preliminary UCSF study suggests a possible link between mind wandering and aging, by looking at a biological measure of longevity.

In the study, telomere length, an emerging biomarker for cellular and general bodily aging, was assessed in association with the tendency to be present in the moment versus the tendency to mind wander, in research on 239 healthy, midlife women ranging in age from 50 to 65 years.

Being present in the moment was defined as an inclination to be focused on current tasks, while mind wandering was defined as the inclination to have thoughts about things other than the present or being elsewhere.
Wandering minds associated with aging cells
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Old November 21st, 2012, 10:05 AM   #2

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My mind wanders so much it sends me a postcard of where it's been.

But I'm pretty damned focused when I want to be and pretty creative, too. My longer term memory is excellent.

I think that some people have minds that wander in order to find new connections and to explore new realms and ideas. Or as motivation.

Others simply cannot concentrate, whilst others still probably daydream to escape.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 03:14 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
My mind wanders so much it sends me a postcard of where it's been.

But I'm pretty damned focused when I want to be and pretty creative, too. My longer term memory is excellent.

I think that some people have minds that wander in order to find new connections and to explore new realms and ideas. Or as motivation.

Others simply cannot concentrate, whilst others still probably daydream to escape.
So, the key to this is allowing the mind to wander in order to find new ideas but being able to focus on the here and now in order to put them to use?
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Old November 21st, 2012, 03:19 PM   #4

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I'm not sure that it can be controlled, since it's hard to know what is time wasting and escapism and what is wandering to find good ideas. That's just the way my mind works. It works for me. I tend to solve one problem whilst doing something completely different and ideas often come out of the blue.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 05:56 PM   #5

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When it comes to the question of what a wondering mind does for an individual I think that this has something to do with your personality type. Most introverts manage to have a few conversations going in their heads at the same time, while functioning—in their own unique manner—in a social setting in order to alleviate boredom and also because it allows us to use time more efficiently.


Things get a bit touchy when people misread your facial expressions and consider you either arrogant, stupid, or scary (depending what goes on in your head). Most of us have a hard time focusing on one thing exclusively if it does not utterly captivate us.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 10:16 PM   #6

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It might be that a wandering mind is the just the result of boredom?

Both of the articles listed here talk about "links" between creativity and aging. While interesting observations, they are just correlations and not causes of a wandering mind. My guess is...its extremely complicated as usual...
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Old November 24th, 2012, 01:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
My mind wanders so much it sends me a postcard of where it's been.
Bloody funny! It also about sums me up too. But I think people who are creative tend to day dream and think a lot. It can manifest in positive or negative ways, or even in useless ways that are neither negative or positive.

I don't see how a wandering mind has anything to do with age though. I don't always believe these types of studies, as not all the factors in a persons life are taken into account.
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Old November 24th, 2012, 02:32 AM   #8

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Exactly. There are dozens of reasons why someone hasn't got the mind on what they're doing, and surely the most stupid creature of all is the most common: the unthinking, brains in neutral average British citizen, who mistakes instincts for emotions and implanted ideas for intellectual effort:

"The next thought arriving at platform 4 will be the 18:30 from TV. This thought is 35 minutes late...."

I see them all the time: blank stare, slack jawed and a bucolic expression just like a cow waiting for the next thought to show up. Mind you this IS Yorkshire (and I'm a Lancastrian)
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Old November 24th, 2012, 02:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
Exactly. There are dozens of reasons why someone hasn't got the mind on what they're doing, and surely the most stupid creature of all is the most common: the unthinking, brains in neutral average British citizen, who mistakes instincts for emotions and implanted ideas for intellectual effort:

"The next thought arriving at platform 4 will be the 18:30 from TV. This thought is 35 minutes late...."

I see them all the time: blank stare, slack jawed and a bucolic expression just like a cow waiting for the next thought to show up. Mind you this IS Yorkshire (and I'm a Lancastrian)
LOL
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Old November 24th, 2012, 03:05 AM   #10

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There's nothing wrong with wool-gathering as long as it's pure Merino wool.
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