"I speak with UCSB professor and META lab director Jonathan Schooler about some of my favorite topics, including panpsychism, multiple minds, the filter that is consciousness, and how we understand the world."
It's a workday, just after lunch. You have a deadline and there's plenty of time left in the day to get the task done. If only you could stop thinking about other things. One thought can lead to your mind just...wandering away. This can't be good, right? You've probably been scolded as a kid for daydreaming in class. But in recent years, neuroscientists and psychologists have found that there are some very redeeming qualities to this mental state - in fact, it could be an essential cognitive skill. Here's an excerpt from an interview conducted with one of those researchers.
Being called a daydreamer, especially as an adult, often has negative connotations. But researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have been studying the value of what they call ‘mind wandering’. Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychological and brain sciences has been looking specifically at creative scientists and creative writers to see when they have creative ideas.
In this short, Jonathan Schooler tells us about a discovery that launched his career and led to a puzzle that has haunted him ever since.
In the late 1980s, when Jonathan Schooler was a graduate student in psychology, he did a little study that became a big deal. Schooler asked a group of people to watch a video of a man robbing a bank. After watching the video, he had half of them jot down a description of the robber. And, wait for it ... turns out that the people who took notes were significantly LESS likely to recognize the robber later.