31 May 2007

Woolgathering: Are You Normal?

Via TierneyWeb I see a pointer to this survey from Columbia University psychologist Malia Mason, who is trying to find out if daydreaming tendencies can tell us anything useful about background cortical functions. The upshot is, if you answer 12 questions about your daydreams, you can see how you compare to the "average" daydreamer. (According to the stats at the end of the survey, I spend more time than the average individual in mental wandering, but less time thinking about practical matters or other people.)

Questions I have about daydreaming:

-Does the ability to daydream decrease with age? I remember spending much more time lost in thought as a kid, and find that it's harder to achieve this state now.

-Does daydreaming serve as important a cognitive function as actual, REM dreaming? (I imagine this is part of Dr. Mason's project.)

-Is daydreaming as useful as traditional meditation for reducing stress and bringing mental clarity? Both activities induce alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation and rest, as well as theta waves, which are linked with inspiration and creativity (and can also be induced by monotonous driving).