Do you regularly get caught daydreaming in class? On the way to school? At lunch? If so, there’s no need to be ashamed. This habit isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, daydreaming could be a sign that you’re exceptionally smart and creative, according to new research from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Wahoo!
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“People with efficient brains may have too much brain capacity to stop their minds from wandering,” said Eric Schumacher, co-author of the study and an associate psychology professor at Georgia Tech, in a statement.
With the help of students and colleagues, Schumacher and his co-author Christine Godwin discovered this after they had analyzed brain patterns of more than 100 people while they were laying in an MRI machine.
The data helped the research team figure out which areas of the brain work together while awake but at rest. The researchers then compared that data with tests that measured participants’ intellectual and creative ability and questionnaires asking them about how often their minds wandered on a daily basis.
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The result of this analysis? The people who said they daydreamed more frequently had higher scores for intellectual and creative ability — and had higher efficiency in their brain (which means more capacity to think).
In other words, someone with a more efficient brain system may find their thoughts wandering while performing easy tasks. One major clue as to whether or not you fall into this category is if you can tune in or out of conversations without missing a beat.
An example: “school children who are too intellectually advanced for their classes,” Schumacher said. “While it may take five minutes for their friends to learn something new, they figure it out in a minute, then check out and start daydreaming.”
So the next time someone tells you to snap out of it, remember that you’re probably just way ahead of them. Now you can get back to your daydreaming without the guilt.