Wandering along the spectrum of spontaneous thinking: Dreaming, meditation, mind-wandering, and well-being
Interviewed by Matthieu Koroma
mind-wandering, spontaneous thinking, dreaming, meditation, default-mode network
About half of our conscious activity is not related to our direct sensory environment. Such spontaneous thinking has nevertheless long been neglected due to the difficulty to tackle it experimentally. Neuroscientific Kieran Fox discusses recent efforts to understand and conceptualize the diversity of spontaneous activity within a single framework. The relation of mind-wandering to other phenomena such as dreaming and mediation is highlighted. Far from being a distracting nuisance, the role of spontaneous thoughts in diverse mental functions, e.g., creativity, and their dysfunction in mental illnesses point towards the importance of spontaneous thinking for mental life and well-being.