Resent research suggests that mind wandering is associated with good working memory, itself a measure of intelligence, reading comprehension and IQ score. The new study, published in Psychological Science, asked individuals to perform routine tasks and monitored how often their minds wandered. Later, scientists measured each person’s working memory and found that people with better memories were also more likely to have a roaming mind. The results are the first indication that memory may enable off-topic thoughts.
What’s the Big Idea?
Despite humans’ proclivity for self-conscious and intentional behavior, scientists estimate that our minds wander about half the time, demonstrating the complex behavior and purpose of our brain. When your mind does wander, what thoughts it goes to are an indication of what priorities a person has, consciously or subconsciously. In other words, a wandering mind is a way for the brain to optimize its energy, allocating resources to other concerns when the task at hand does not require someone’s complete attention.