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The Wandering Mind: Where Imagination Meets Consciousness

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Daydreaming, or the seemingly aimless and inadvertent roaming of the mind, is a common experience that each of us undergoes several times a day during our waking lives. This fascinating phenomenon, which has been described as being akin to a 'private theatre', is typically considered an altered state in relation to human consciousness as well as a central operation within the playground of the human imagination. This paper provides a selective overview of the types and functions of daydreaming as well as reflections on daydreaming as an altered state of consciousness and daydreaming as a facet of the imagination. In doing so, attention is drawn towards critical factors to consider when interpreting findings from the purview of each of these perspectives of study which points to the necessity to question implicit assumptions that are in place about this core human propensity.

Keywords: daydreaming; default mode network; internal mentation; mind wandering; mind-wandering; neuroscience; phenomenology; philosophy; psychology; resting state; self generated thought;; spontaneous cognition; stimulus-independent thought; task-unrelated thought

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Social Sciences, Leeds Beckett University, City Campus CL 920, Leeds, LS1 3HE, UK., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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