What is the relationship between mind-wandering, memory, and creativity?
Mind-wandering, or daydreaming, is a spontaneous and seemingly unavoidable aspect of our mind’s life. As first-time meditators, subway riders, and students revising for exams can all testify, human minds tend to wander, and sometimes they do so despite our best efforts to stay on task. Old memories and new realizations often come together in our daydreams, and the results are sometimes startling, even poignant. It is perhaps for this reason that mind-wandering has fascinated writers and artists for centuries, inspiring countless iconic scenes in literature and captivating works of art. Yet, in a society increasingly committed to improving focus and optimizing productivity, mind-wandering runs the risk of being characterized as mere time-wasting and, at worst, pathologized.
This seminar will bring together the latest brain imaging research with insights from clinical and theoretical psychoanalysis, behavioral and systems neuroscience, and psychology to discuss the complex relationships between mind-wandering, memory, and creativity, and the potential role(s) for mind-wandering in the brain, and for our psyche.