The Wandering Mind : What the Brain Does When You're Not Looking
Overview - If we've done our job well--and, let's be honest, if we're lucky--you'll read to the end of this description. Most likely, however, you won't. Somewhere in the middle of the next paragraph, your mind will wander off. Minds wander. That's just how it is. Read more...
More About The Wandering Mind by Michael C. Corballis
If we've done our job well--and, let's be honest, if we're lucky--you'll read to the end of this description. Most likely, however, you won't. Somewhere in the middle of the next paragraph, your mind will wander off. Minds wander. That's just how it is.
That may be bad news for me, but is it bad news for people in general? Does the fact that as much as fifty percent of our waking hours find us failing to focus on the task at hand represent a problem? Michael Corballis doesn't think so, and with The Wandering Mind
, he shows us why, rehabilitating woolgathering and revealing its incredibly useful effects. Drawing on the latest research from cognitive science and evolutionary biology, Corballis shows us how mind-wandering not only frees us from moment-to-moment drudgery, but also from the limitations of our immediate selves. Mind-wandering strengthens our imagination, fueling the flights of invention, storytelling, and empathy that underlie our shared humanity; furthermore, he explains, our tendency to wander back and forth through the timeline of our lives is fundamental to our very sense of ourselves as coherent, continuing personalities.
Full of unusual examples and surprising discoveries, The Wandering Mind
mounts a vigorous defense of inattention---even as it never fails to hold the reader's.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
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University of Auckland professor emeritus of psychology Corballis (A Very Short Tour of the Mind) tackles an unusual and ephemeral subject in this study of what he calls "mind-wandering," stating that "for at least half of our lives, our minds are wandering away from the chores of life." Touching on daydreaming (where he invokes the classic "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"), remembering ("mind-wandering into the past"), and subconsciously planning for the future, Corballis suggests that the brain is designed for unfocused functionality. His topics can seem like a random grab bag of mental traits. Thinking about the past and imagining the future, for instance, are described as a form of time travel. Storytelling, meanwhile, emerges as a way to share mind-wanderings. Psychic powers, if they exist, would be evidence of wandering minds connecting. Corballis also addresses dreams and hallucinations and how they fit into the functioning of healthy and unhealthy minds. The subject matter is fascinating, but the exploration, though often engaging, meanders; Corballis acknowledges that "I have occasionally allowed myself to wander a bit, but the topic itself seems to permit this." (Apr.)