What Are Daydreams and How Are Daydreams Studied?
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What Are Daydreams and How Are Daydreams Studied?

Daydreaming occurs when your mind is ‘somewhere else,’ you may be in that special place between being awake and being asleep. You may be lying in your bed, relaxing in a chair, or just feeling bored at work. Daydreams occur from right brain stimulation. The right side of your brain is the part where your creativity comes from.

Daydreaming occurs when your mind is ‘somewhere else,’ you may be in that special place between being awake and being asleep. You may be lying in your bed, relaxing in a chair, or just feeling bored at work.  Daydreams occur from right brain stimulation. The right side of your brain is the part where your creativity comes from.

Jokes are often made about people daydreaming their life away, that daydreaming has no purpose. However, this is hardly the case for creative people. Individuals who daydream are often able to figure out complex problems that they couldn’t seem to solve when they are fully awake. 

The daydream experience is different than a dream that we have during REM sleep.  This dream experience is a lot like thinking, but you also experience little videos in your mind.  We daydream all the time, whether we realize it or not. When you play back the day you had at work in your mind, you are daydreaming.  When you leave reality and don’t hear what is going on around you because you are reviewing how the characters in the story you are writing relate to each other, you are daydreaming. When you tune out to mentally review what is wrong with your finances, you are daydreaming. Many books have been written on the themes of daydreams and night dreams.

When you constantly worry about things, you are daydreaming.  Daydreams are usually thought of as whimsical, problems solving, and creative. However, daydreams can also be fretful and very uncomfortable to deal with. When we are worrying about something, it’s often the mind’s way of telling us to deal with that problem.  For instance, if you are worrying about how you will make the mortgage payment because you have lost your job, your mind might be telling you to get up off the couch and do some odd jobs to pay the bills, until you can land another job.

As much as we might be made fun of for daydreaming, we just can’t seem to help it. We just seem to drift off into a zone where we dream while being in an altered state of mind.  Much research has been done on daydreams. It has been discovered that daydreams, like night dreams, consolidate the information taken in and makes sense of it. This is why we are able to suddenly get ideas of how to solve particularly perplexing problems.

How are daydreams studied?

Creative geniuses like Leonardo DeVinci and Albert Einstein were daydreamers. Researchers are able to see how the brain works in daydreamers by performing a special type of MRI called a functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The Functional MRI (fMRI) scans the neural activity in the brain while the person being scanned is daydreaming. Researchers use the fMRI on its own or they may also do an EEG on an individual while he/she is daydreaming. Both tests will start out with a baseline test when the individual is not daydreaming, and then the tests will also be done while the person is daydreaming to show the difference in brain activity.

Image credit: Google for professional use

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Daydreaming

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Functional MRI

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Comments (6)
Ranked #9 in Science

For some reason my image didn't upload. Must be a glitch.

I admit, I day dream a lot, as a child I know I did this in school a whole bunch.. I still do it.

Ranked #9 in Science

I do it too.

I dream of writing. Thank you dear sister Charlene. Thank you for your appreciation of St.Patrick article.

Ranked #9 in Science

Thank you so much. That St Patrick article is spectacular. That is a very special day for me. I have one grandson born on that day and one was born the day before. They are two years and one day apart in age. Aside from my live for the holiday, I learned a lot from that article.

Ranked #12 in Science

yep K is a daydreamer too

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