Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wandering Minds

Some days I felt guilty because of frequent mind-wandering at work, so I find following numbers are quite comforting:

Dr. Michael Kane, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, recently sampled the thoughts of students at eight random times a day for a week. He found that on average, they were not thinking about what they were doing 30% of the time.For some students it was between 80% and 90% of the time. Out of the 126 participants, only one denied any mind-wandering at the sampled moments. Prior work has also turned up average rates of 30% to 40% in everyday life.

It appears our mind are weired to wander. "Mind wandering is not objectively good or bad. It depends on the context in which it occurs", Dr. Kane said. Mind wandering may enable us to do multi-tasking and creative thinking. Life usually doesn't demand our full attention after all.

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