Wandering Minds

Wandering Minds March 25, 2012

A wandering mind indicates a good memory… I like that! From Orion Jones:

What’s the Latest Development?

Resent research suggests that mind wandering is associated with good working memory, itself a measure of intelligence, reading comprehension and IQ score. The new study, published in Psychological Science, asked individuals to perform routine tasks and monitored how often their minds wandered. Later, scientists measured each person’s working memory and found that people with better memories were also more likely to have a roaming mind. The results are the first indication that memory may enable off-topic thoughts.

What’s the Big Idea?

Despite humans’ proclivity for self-conscious and intentional behavior, scientists estimate that our minds wander about half the time, demonstrating the complex behavior and purpose of our brain. When your mind does wander, what thoughts it goes to are an indication of what priorities a person has, consciously or subconsciously. In other words, a wandering mind is a way for the brain to optimize its energy, allocating resources to other concerns when the task at hand does not require someone’s complete attention.


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  • Well, I seem to have the ‘wandering mind’ down pat. It’s the ‘working memory’ that’s been giving me trouble of late. 😉

  • Yvette

    Now that’s a feel good story! 😀

    THANK YOU. I am breathing a big sigh of relief.

  • DRT

    Wifey says I need ADD meds, but so far it has done well by me. But, 2 weeks ago I failed a (difficult) test for an analytical position and now realize that even those who can keep volumes in working memory age, and it catches up to you.

    I passed with flying colors the second time after I realized I could no longer do all of that in my head….

  • Well, I for one think…

  • Nice to hear that what I thought was a negative, “wandering mind”, has a positive role in helping me see what priorities are going on in my mind. Next step is getting that “good memory” working and in the right order.

  • Interesting how a wandering mind is different from and akin to an anxious or depressed mind. With each of the latter two there is a similarly disassociative line of thinking that is largely involuntary. But the involuntary gets stuck with those suffering from clinical levels of anxiety and depression, and therefore working-memory scores actually plummet. I would wonder what the correlations among these three types of thinking/dispositions might be.