ScienceDaily (July 2, 2012) — As each day passes, the pace of life seems to accelerate -- demands on productivity continue ever upward and there is hardly ever a moment when we aren't, in some way, in touch with our family, friends, or coworkers. While moments for reflection may be hard to come by, a new article suggests that the long-lost art of introspection -- even daydreaming -- may be an increasingly valuable part of life.
Accumulated research suggests that the networks that underlie a focus inward versus outward likely are interdependent, and our ability to regulate and move between them probably improves with maturity and practice. While outward attention is essential for carrying out tasks and learning from classroom lessons, for example, the reflection and consolidation that may accompany mind wandering is equally important, fostering healthy development and learning in the longer term.
"Balance is needed between outward and inward attention, since time spent mind wandering, reflecting and imagining may also improve the quality of outward attention that kids can sustain," says Immordino-Yang.