Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Daydreaming Is Really Complex Problem-Solving

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the how-about-daydreaming-about-girls dept.

Medicine 138

beefsprocket writes "ScienceDaily reports that 'A new University of British Columbia study finds that our brains are much more active when we daydream than previously thought. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (abstract), finds that activity in numerous brain regions increases when our minds wander. It also finds that brain areas associated with complex problem-solving — previously thought to go dormant when we daydream — are in fact highly active during these episodes. "Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness or inattentiveness," says lead author, Prof. Kalina Christoff, UBC Dept. of Psychology. "But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream — much more active than when we focus on routine tasks."'"

cancel ×

138 comments

Huh? What? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27957585)

Did you say something?

Re:Huh? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27957671)

Did you say something?

pay attention!
*slaps hand with yard-stick*

I had a wonderful daydream (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27957675)

that i was a unique beautifull butterfly which owns a Macbook Apple computer.

Re:Huh? What? (0, Offtopic)

coryboehne (244614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958357)

Did you say something?

About right..

However, I wonder if the author has looked into writing books for academic purposes...

Anyone who has a degree knows just how much money is made on textbooks, and the frequency with which they are replaced and updated.

If I was a writer looking to make a living at it, especially in a vertical field, I would seriously consider writing university level textbooks.

Re:Huh? What? WHAT THE HELL! (2, Funny)

coryboehne (244614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958393)

Talk about sleeping on the job... I didn't even post this in the right story...

Did you say something?

About right..

However, I wonder if the author has looked into writing books for academic purposes...

Anyone who has a degree knows just how much money is made on textbooks, and the frequency with which they are replaced and updated.

If I was a writer looking to make a living at it, especially in a vertical field, I would seriously consider writing university level textbooks.

Re:Huh? What? WHAT THE HELL! (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959695)

You should have left it alone. I probably would have modded you funny if I had points.

At Work (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27958781)

I spend half my time daydreaming and half my time doodling. [slashdot.org]

I do great work.

I'd guess that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27957625)

our ability for imagination is located in that part.

I'd also bet that a large segment of the population lacks this part, too.

This won't go over well (4, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957635)

Boss: "Stop daydreaming, be productive."
Me: "But I am! By daydreaming I'm even more productive than I would be if I were strictly working on the task assigned to me! Slashdot told me so!"
Boss: "Fantastic, go be productive at another company."

Re:This won't go over well (5, Insightful)

Niris (1443675) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957821)

When comparing two jobs I've had, one with the government where people pretty much do their job and screw around a bit at random times, and another for a bank where everyone took their 15 minute break at the exact same time and everything was scheduled and systematic, I think the job where people just kinda daydream and do whatever every so often gets more done on accident than the corporate job ever did. Plus it's a lot more of a happy environment. I'd rather "go be productive at another company" :D

Re:This won't go over well (5, Interesting)

CorSci81 (1007499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958105)

I find this to be true for myself a lot. I generally find solutions to hard problems I'm working on at completely random times like zoning out on my commute home or out walking around. I get more of the hard/creative part of my job done outside of work hours when I'm not trapped in a boring office and then spend my working hours writing and coding whatever my brain came up with when I get there.

Re:This won't go over well (5, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959279)

Daydreaming, and taking cat-naps at work are also helpful for productivity. Unfortunately Managers don't read science articles, and when they do they dismiss the results as a joke because they think they are smarter than scientists.

Re:This won't go over well (3, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960195)

Me too, I find most of my ideas while either having a shower or doing number 2. Unfortunately I'm French so I don't shower that often, and I don't eat a lot of vegetables so I don't do number 2 often either.

This being said I also found the whole idea for my commercial program while daydreaming at a lecture in college after waking up from a nap on my table.

Re:This won't go over well (0)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960323)

Unfortunately I'm French so I don't shower that often, and I don't eat a lot of vegetables so I don't do number 2 often either.

I appreciate your candidness, but sometimes people give more information than I'd prefer to know about -:)

Re:This won't go over well (1)

zaydana (729943) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960275)

I find this true as well, especially when I'm working on things that require a bit of creativity.

I spend a lot of time making up mnemonics for memorizing Japanese characters - the only way I've found to really remember them is making up little stories for each. But, if I decide to just sit down and try to make stories for hours, it doesn't usually work. I can be stuck on a character for 10 minutes, then get up to go to the toilet, and figure out a story straight away when I wasn't even trying.

I've found the same thing with coding as well. Sometimes I'll be trying to solve that stupid bug, and spend an hour or so on it. Get up to have a drink, stop concentrating on it, and then it just all makes sense.

While daydreaming constantly obviously wouldn't be productive, I think its fairly certain that spacing your work out and giving your mind a chance to go off on a tangent is probably very good for getting things done that require problem solving and creativity.

Re:This won't go over well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27958141)

Are you trying to say that government employees actually got something done? OMG!

Re:This won't go over well (1)

Twyst3d (1359973) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958241)

I daydream while driving. At first when I realized this it scared the living bajeebus out of me. Eventually I got over it. So this really is not surprising in the least.

Re:This won't go over well (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958297)

I once drove home from work, a 40 minute drive, taking lots of stop signs and lots of turns, without being able to remember anything about the journey when I got home.

That was on a quiet, rural road in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, this could never happen here in California, since the other drivers do stupid, unpredictable things so often that if you're not "actively driving" 100% of the time, you'll be killed to death.

Re:This won't go over well (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958457)

I beg to differ: the reason the roads are so bad here in LA is BECAUSE all the drivers are daydreaming. I know I am--what else am I going to do for those 4 hours a day?

Re:This won't go over well (1)

Lunzo (1065904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959017)

With a username like MaskedSlacker I'd expect not daydreaming now that daydreaming is considered productive.

Re:This won't go over well (4, Funny)

madsenj37 (612413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958471)

Killed to death? As opposed to killed to mostly dead?

Re:This won't go over well (1, Offtopic)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958685)

Exactly.

Re:This won't go over well (0, Offtopic)

yerktoader (413167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959131)

He distinctly said, "To blaaaaave", and as we all know, to blave means to bluff!

Re:This won't go over well (0, Offtopic)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959715)

Ah, so you were probably playing cards, and he cheated!

Re:This won't go over well (0, Offtopic)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960043)

He distinctly said, "To blaaaaave", and as we all know, to blave means to bluff!

Only one thing to do if they're *really* dead; go through their pockets looking for loose change.

Re:This won't go over well (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960937)

Killed to death? As opposed to killed to mostly dead?

We went on a family holiday to India when I was 14, and one of the places we visited was Ootacamund, which we reached by taking the Toy Train [wikipedia.org] . The travel agent we bought the tickets off told us about an incident a few years previous when one of the bridges had been washed out and the train had fallen into a ravine, leading to, in his words, "Two hundred and sixteen peoples, completely dead."

Re:This won't go over well (2, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960897)

That was on a quiet, rural road in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, this could never happen here in California, since the other drivers do stupid, unpredictable things so often that if you're not "actively driving" 100% of the time, you'll be killed to death.

I'm not so sure it couldn't. I often don't remember exact details of my journey home, and it's 45kms sharing roads with Perth drivers, but multiple times I've been tootling along with my brain switched off and snapped out of it to find the car already braking at the limit, or having swerved into another lane (after checking blind spots, even) to avoid some retard who's pulled out in front of me. My guess is that the bits that do the driving are all working perfectly and my brain just doesn't bother recording the run-of-the-mill stuff.

Re:This won't go over well (2, Interesting)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960213)

I daydream while driving. At first when I realized this it scared the living bajeebus out of me. Eventually I got over it. So this really is not surprising in the least.

What you are experiencing when you drive is probably highway hypnosis [wikipedia.org] which is very common for people to experience and quite normal. It's also one of the reasons that planners and engineers put bumps and gravel on the edges of highways; to "wake" people up if they drift off too much. It's also one of the reasons why seemingly straight roads have slight curves designed into them; so as too not make the driving experience too repetitive. Doing repetitive tasks puts part of your brain in "automatic", which psychologists call "automaticity".

Re:This won't go over well (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959645)

It might work out a wee bit better if you give him a copy of PNAS instead of saying "Slashdot told me so."

Unfortunate acronym (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960311)

It might work out a wee bit better if you give him a copy of PNAS instead of saying "Slashdot told me so."

[...] wee [...] PNAS [...]

PINGAS! [youtube.com]

Re:This won't go over well (1)

anonymousNR (1254032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960145)

some manager's don't even know slashdot exists

Mutually exclusive? (5, Interesting)

Leibel (768832) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957637)

"Mind wandering is typically associated with negative things like laziness..." and "our brains are very active when we daydream"

These aren't mutually exclusive. It just means our brains are very active on other topics

Re:Mutually exclusive? (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957823)

Why does it have to be another topic? I could be daydreaming about what I am at that moment. Just so much so that my ability to function with the surrounding environment has gone down a noticeable level.

Re:Mutually exclusive? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959315)

I'm assuming you meant to say "daydreaming about what I am working on at that moment", and if that's the case, I'd argue that that's not daydreaming, it's thinking about your task.

Whether or not you're daydreaming has less to do with how much brain activity you've got going on, and more to do with whatever it is that that activity is revolving around.

Re:Mutually exclusive? (2, Funny)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959363)

That's called concentrating, not daydreaming.

Re:Mutually exclusive? (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959633)

Is there truly a difference? I would say daydreaming IS just concentrating... just on something considered "imaginary". At least that is the association everyone makes.

Re:Mutually exclusive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27959681)

A daydream is just a one man free association brainstorm.

Re:Mutually exclusive? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27959809)

very active on other topics

Boobies?

Explains a lot (1)

Raleel (30913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957649)

Always felt like I was more alive in a daydream then I was doing grunt work.

I like my mind active or I grow bored. i'm sure much of slashdot is like this. Found that I daydreamed a lot and had a hard time focusing on grunt work

Re:Explains a lot (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959381)

| I like my mind active or I grow bored. i'm sure much of slashdot is like this.

you must be new here.

Hehe...... (0, Troll)

whitefang1121 (1432411) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957653)

*sex* Oh were you talking to me? I wasn't listening because I am staring at your boobs.

Re:Hehe...... (1)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958895)

Oh will someone please mod this guy up! This is a classic example of 'daydreaming' at work, cuz we've ALL been there. I imagine productivity levels would soar if one was captivated for a few minutes by a lovely set of gazongas walking by.

Re:Hehe...... (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959497)

Need a new mod category; Troll as in inflammatory vs Troll as in troglodyte.

Fat Tax? (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957655)

So if I am really active while sitting inattentive, basically ignoring my surroundings and seemingly "brain-dead", then surely we can't claim video games are fattening. Right?

Re:Fat Tax? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958443)

Wrong. Daydreaming is also fattening.

Bad Eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27957707)

I see a bad egg when I look at your niece. She is a twiddler, a dreamer, a silly heart and she is a jabberbox. And, frankly, I don't think she takes a thing in her life or her career as a student seriously.

---She's only six.

That is not a valid excuse! I hear that every day and I dismiss it.

Re:Bad Eggs (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958367)

I don't think I want to know a six-year-old who isn't a dreamer, or a 'sillyheart.' And I sure don't want to know one who takes their student career seriously. I don't have a college degree. I don't even have a job. But I know a good kid when I see one. Because they're all good kids, until dried-out, brain-dead skags like you drag them down and convince them they're no good. You so much as scowl at my niece, or any other kid in this school, and I hear about it, and I'm coming looking for you! Take this quarter, go downtown, and have a rat gnaw that thing off your face! Good day to you, madam.

Re:Bad Eggs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27959375)

you guys made me cry

Re:Bad Eggs (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960091)

Sillyheart -- could you please give me the reference to that? I went through two internal "whoooshes" before I realised you were both on the same rail. If that's a quote, I want to look up the original reference. If that dialogue is original, i would like to invite you into my guild. We're family friendly, have two bank tabs and a tabard.

Re:Bad Eggs (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960329)

Uncle Buck [wikiquote.org] , 1989.

Re:Bad Eggs (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960339)

Thanks Uncle Buck.

Is this really surprising to you? (5, Interesting)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957767)

Daydreaming is basically shutting off (or at least ignoring) the bulk of the sensory inputs into your brain, and letting your imagination run the show for a period of time. Is it really surprising that having to create an ongoing reality that replaces a bunch of those ignored sensory inputs requires the brain to do some serious work? Especially when compared to performing a routine task that you've already done hundreds of times?

Laziness isn't really connected in any meaningful way to how hard your brain is working. I could give my brain a pretty serious workout by staying home, sitting on the couch, and doing crossword puzzles until next thursday, but that's still a pretty lazy way to spend a week.

Unfortunately, my boss isn't impressed by general problem solving as much as he's impressed by the solving of the specific problems that he's paying me to figure out.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (1)

pacificleo (850029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958117)

Daydreaming is basically shutting off (or at least ignoring) the bulk of the sensory inputs into your brain, and letting your imagination run the show for a period of time.

you make it sound as if mind has a meditation like sharp focus during day dreaming. But its not the case. day dreaming is mostly dominated by stray thought. it can't be Directed to be productive . That't the reason its useless for your boss. but some new age writer like Rhonda Bryne says that day dreaming can change everything as per your wish. that include your boss. go figure

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959051)

No, I agree with you. But the fact that you can't steer it in "useful" directions doesn't mean that your brain isn't working. It's just that it's busy solving problems that only exist because it made them up (it's trying to make sense of the wandering thoughts you're experiencing), instead of working on some actual task that's sitting on your desk.

Some people have argued that the brain uses dreams to abstractly work through real problems that you've experienced awake (and we certainly do sometimes have dreams that reflect our real lives), but I don't know much about that.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958179)

Daydreaming is basically shutting off (or at least ignoring) the bulk of the sensory inputs into your brain

Many people do the same thing when they're focusing on a particular task. While I'm personally very bad at this (which is perhaps why I'm so easily distracted), several people I know become hyperfocused to the point that they actually don't hear their name being called, or the phone ringing. I don't see how that's any less work for the brain than your definition of daydreaming.

One time I threw a brick at a duck.

Did you yell "brick" or "duck"?

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958941)

I'd say it depends on the task. If it's an interesting task that requires some serious thought, sure you can "get in the zone" and shut out the world and concentrate on what you're doing. But that's a different case than some menial task that you've done a million times, where you're basically on autopilot, working almost on muscle memory.

But being "in the zone" is different from "zoning out" and letting your mind wander. They both share a symptom (shutting out your surroundings), but they're entirely different states of mind.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (2, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959573)

I'd say it depends on the task.

Don't think so. Maybe it's mentioned in the article (which I haven't yet read), but whatever focus you think you have expires every 20-25 minutes, if not sooner. That "shutting off", to use the OP's words, is what's key here, not what follows.

Ask yourself how often you've been at work and simply interrupted things to refresh your coffee, or watched something interesting on television and welcomed the commercial break. In movie theatres, who doesn't get up to go for popcorn? Or for the real nerds, watching a porno movie and getting distracted by some computer equipment that happens to be part of the set.

You can pretend you can maintain concentration or focus, but that's a self deceit that yields little that's useful. By contrast, most forms of meditation, for example, encourage following our natural ebbs and flows of concentration, even if what we're striving to focus on is absolutely nothing.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27960279)

Wish I still had mod points. They seem to have ran out an hour ago. Great post. Thanks.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (4, Informative)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958621)

Daydreaming is basically shutting off (or at least ignoring) the bulk of the sensory inputs into your brain, and letting your imagination run the show for a period of time.

I accidentally discovered an interesting trick. I don't know if it's related to your point here, but if you get that "daydreaming" look in your eyes, you can stop (or rather, significantly alter) your eyes' saccadal movement (the way that they dart around to get a better model of your environment).

This illusion [ritsumei.ac.jp] exploits your saccades to make it look like the snakes are rotating. However, if you start staring at it and get that "glazed" look that will tip people off you're not listening, the snakes stop rotating.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27960089)

I could give my brain a pretty serious workout by staying home, sitting on the couch, and doing crossword puzzles until next thursday, but that's still a pretty lazy way to spend a week.

Actually, I believe that is unproductive rather than lazy... there's a difference: you have an empty pen and some paper to recycle but, in essence, nothing gained.

Yet compare that to some corporations where the number of meetings and conference calls attended are points to score: nothing ever gets done but 40 hours were spent in meetings week after week. Nothing productive got accomplished but the busy meter is off the charts.

Re:Is this really surprising to you? (2, Insightful)

wytcld (179112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960783)

Daydreaming is basically shutting off (or at least ignoring) the bulk of the sensory inputs into your brain, and letting your imagination run the show for a period of time.

Is that how it is for you? For me, daydreaming happens most strongly when I open my sensory inputs, as on the fine spring days we've been having here this past week. It's when the inspiration of the world joins with the directions of my thought, rather than the two pulling in different directions. More often most of the sensory input gets suppressed because it's "distraction," not pertinent to the task assigned by my "executive network" as these academic clowns like to call it in this paper - which is really a pretty good paper, in that they're recognizing that the most powerful thought goes with nature (at least our inner nature - the "default network") rather than against it.

That can also explain why American culture was at its strongest when much of our nation was at the frontier - directly facing nature. The daydream inducing nature of being nature facing may have played as large a role as the discipline inducing nature of taming a wilderness. In civilization you can do quite a bit with no imagination at all. On a frontier, lack of imagination is often the prelude to failure and death. And that imagination had better be damn well keyed to the specifics of the current environment - to a very vital mindfulness.

You don't say.. (4, Funny)

stevied (169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957785)

Please tag "noshitsherlock" ..

Re:You don't say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27958547)

And your empirical evidence prior to such studies...or is it all arm chair engineering.

Re:You don't say.. (1)

stevied (169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958803)

Experience and introspection!

Probably doesn't cut much ice with teachers and bosses, admittedly ..

Re:You don't say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27958637)

Please tag "noshitsherlock" ..

Too busy daydreaming to do it yourself?

Re:You don't say.. (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958785)

stopdiggingwatson

Re:You don't say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27958827)

Amen! And don't even get me started on the guys who did this study [nih.gov] . Sheesh!

I'll be sure to let my boss know... (4, Funny)

pwnies (1034518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957793)

that if he wants productivity to soar he has to hire more hot co-workers for me to daydream about.

...annndddd if you guys need me I'll be in my mandatory sensitivity training.

Re:I'll be sure to let my boss know... (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958609)

From TFA:
"Although it may undermine our immediate goals, mind wandering may enable the parallel operation of diverse brain areas in the service of distal goals that extend beyond the current task."

'Distal goals', eh?

Re:I'll be sure to let my boss know... (0, Troll)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958889)

'Distal goals', eh?

It's called "ideas". You might have heard of them during your job as a postal worker. Here are some of these "ideas", as we call them, that arose during daydreaming sessions: PCR, calculus, assembly lines, printing press. See, these *must* be "ideas", as we call them, because similar technology must exist. Here is the oft-quoted story of PCR ripped from wikipedia:

That spring, according to Mullis, he was driving his vehicle late one night with his girlfriend, who was also a chemist at Cetus, when he had the idea to use a pair of primers to bracket the desired DNA sequence and to copy it using DNA polymerase, a technique which would allow a small strand of DNA to be copied almost an infinite number of times.

For PCR, Mullis got the Nobel prize. This is in sharp contrast to your lack of a Nobel prize.

So yes. Distal goals.

Re:I'll be sure to let my boss know... (1)

panthroman (1415081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959005)

Uh, it was a joke.

Like what the researchers call 'distal goals' are what we call 'sleeping with hot co-workers'.

It's true (3, Insightful)

sayfawa (1099071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957831)

Dreaming up scenarios where my coding skills and knowledge of cutting-edge physics theories gets me women and fame is a really complex thought process. Takes a lot of brain power.

Of course the problem solving centers are active (1, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957835)

Figuring out the sequence of events by which Natalie Portman suddenly acquires an acute allergy to clothes and is driven into my house where we discover that the only cure is hours and hours of passionate woopie and hot grits is a lot more complicated than it sounds!

Re:Of course the problem solving centers are activ (1)

pacificleo (850029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958219)

it might be just complicated for you but think if ever that scenario realised than how hard it will be for Her. No ?

It's about time (1)

jonnycando (1551609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957863)

Vindicated at last!

If that were true.... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957901)

....I'd have solved all the problems of the world by now.

I'm sorry but while I accept that getting your mind off the problem and "zoning out" can be good to get you focused when you do return to work, I do not accept that somehow my subconscious magically solves problems while I dream of warm days and blue seas.

Re:If that were true.... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959693)

Perhaps yours doesn't. Or perhaps you just need to daydream about the right things.

Watson says he figured out the shape of DNA in a dream. When I'm stuck on a hard problem I take a little spell in my hammock and it usually helps.

Re:If that were true.... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960513)

Perhaps yours doesn't. Or perhaps you just need to daydream about the right things.

I can just picture the boss yelling "I hope you're daydreaming about company business!"

Watson says he figured out the shape of DNA in a dream. When I'm stuck on a hard problem I take a little spell in my hammock and it usually helps.

As someone that has a sleep disorder, I don't doubt it helps. Sleep helps me too. Getting AWAY from the problem and getting a rest are VERY useful. It doesn't mean you're solving problems in your sleep. It means your mind works more effectively after a rest.

Re:If that were true.... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960793)

I didn't say sleep. Just a swinging, eyes closed, relaxed, free association, mind wandering thinking session. I definitely agree people work better when well rested, relaxed and happy, but your brain often also works better when you let the reigns go a little loose. I don't mean you get the ideas and the answer when you come back to work, I mean they come before you go back to work.

I imagine it depends on what you're doing. I do research so it's my job to dream up stuff that nobody has tried yet. I suppose if you spend your time punching buttons a la George Jetson or coding up yet another cookie cutter app your mileage may vary.

Doubly true when I'm daydreaming about Tetris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27957993)

You have to love the Tetris Effect [wikipedia.org]

This isn't surprising (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27957999)

I certainly come up with some of my best thoughts when daydreaming. I'm tempted to make a joke about how the only better thinking time is when I'm on the toilet. But I'm worried that I'll get modded as a troll.

Re:This isn't surprising (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960009)

...the only better thinking time is when I'm on the toilet.

You too!?

Mod this dood! (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960801)

Naaah....you should get modded as a troillet....

yes, i was just thinking about this the other day (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958013)

and I think that...

hmm

mmm

hmmmm

mmm

oh!

anyway, what did you ask?

Where is the phone number for HR? (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958067)

I gotta rewrite my evaluation...

I'm Awake (1)

Skelosh (1482211) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958091)

I'm not daydreaming... I'm solving world peace... promise.

Daydreaming, introversion and associative horizon (5, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958229)

I wonder how common daydreaming is in introverts vs extroverts and those with a large associative horizon.

I'd imagine having a good imagination and constantly working it can lead to impressive creativity and novel ways of viewing problems... but it could also lead to not accomplishing a lot at all because it is just so enamoring.

Screensavers are cool! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27958245)

So when I made a joke once about a day dream being like when the screensaver kicks on... I was scientifically or technically correct? Stuff is still happening in there, you just cant tell based on whats being displayed?

You never need to daydream now (1)

InterGuru (50986) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958483)

You never need to daydream now

With instant entertainment available through your iPhone, iPod or cell phone in your pocket.

I wonder what effect lack of daydreams have on kids growing up now?

Bookwormhole.net [bookwormhole.net] -- over 11,000 published book reviews.

Day Dreaming = Slow (1)

alexandre (53) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958869)

So the more you daydream the more you need to be highly concentrated for something and are thus compensating for your inability to do it "live" ? :P

nothing new here, move along ;-)

At my job ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27958971)

... one of the most complex ongoing problems is finding a way to get out of doing work.

I Wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27959489)

Every night for the past two weeks, I've fallen asleep (unintentionally) at 3 p.m. on the dot most afternoons. I'm a student so I can get away with it.

During these daytime naps, I'll have a pretty standard dream involving my friends and some familiar locations, but towards the end I find I ALWAYS have to do something involving organizing.

Normally I have to pack a rucksack or a bag, but recently I've arranged office furniture so it can fit in an elevator and other complex problems. The problems have to be solved strategically and sequentially, I have to put things in the right order and often find myself taking everything out and starting again.

I can't help but think in this case that the rucksack or the elevator is a complex metaphor for... well, my brain. Is this what it is?

World Peace (1)

purpleque (948533) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959555)

With all the complex problem solving I work on you would've thought that I'd have solved a few more problems by now.

Deja vu all over again? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959813)

I thought we covered this in March. I searched like hell for proof, and only when i entered DOODLING did either slashdot or google return pages to calm me down. Searching on "daydreaming" brought back and irritatingly high FUCKLOAD of returns for today, but next to NOTHING valuable about past stories. Even in NPR, their search brought back only their program "Daydreaming". It's annoying as hell to have these "tinfoil" moments when searching in vain is due to poor searching, but in which quick, poor searching on my part would lead me to thing i am losing my mind.

Anyway, what today is newer than in March on this topic?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-smalley/doodling-and-the-wanderin_b_166440.html [huffingtonpost.com]

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101727048 [npr.org]

I knew i'd heard the NPR story, as i was on my way to work. IIRC, Morning Edition ran it multiple times, causing me to remember it, but i failed to recall "doodling".

Problem solving. (2, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27959819)

I thought that daydreaming, or dreaming in general, was the period where problems that occurred during the day re-manifested themselves...

When I daydream, I usually think of solutions to problems that go on throughout the day.

My point exactly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27959941)

And this is why I smoke pot. When I run into a wall with some code I'm working on, I smoke a bowl, zone out and shortly later I usually have a way better way to implement things.

Linear Thinking (1)

StormReaver (59959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960417)

My mind doesn't work in a linear fashion most of the time. Trying to get a line of reasoning from Point A to Point Z in a straight line works sometimes, but not usually. I always have many tangential threads in progress, and they proceed at their own pace. Forcing them rarely results in anything good, while letting them resolve themselves naturally almost always produces a positive result.

That is why I'm typically working on at least three or four simultaneous projects at work. While I'm working on one of them, I'm frequently hit with a seemingly random insight into another one. Then I switch projects to implement that insight. The same thing happens when I zone out and let my mind wander wherever it wants to go.

Daydreaming is also a great way to relieve tunnel-vision and stress. I can't count the number of times I've reached a seemingly dead-end, only to find out that I was over-thinking things. Stepping away from the problem and thinking about random, totally unrelated things frequently eliminates mental blocks and allows me to see problems from different perspectives. It's a great problem-solving tool that gets a bad rap because it's so easily abused.

Shower Man! (1)

davcorp (465418) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960421)

I have solved some pretty complex network and server issues by simply meditating on them in the shower.... works like a charm, first thing in the morning, fresh from the day before.... Daydreaming and Meditation are pretty close in nature....I'm not surprised @ all by this article....

While it looks to the outside that I am idling... (1)

kdcttg (980465) | more than 5 years ago | (#27960859)

my brain is decoding messages from outer space!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...