May 12, 2009

Brains more active while daydreaming

Brains are much more active than previously thought when people daydream, Canadian researchers said.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that activity in numerous brain regions increases when people's minds wander. The study also found 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, lead author Kalina Christoff said in a statement. But this study shows our brains are very active when we daydream -- much more active than when we focus on routine tasks.

The researchers had the study participants perform a simple routine task of pushing a button when numbers appear on a screen while brains scans were made via functional magnetic resonance imaging.