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Though I long to bounce out of bed wide-awake and eager to start the morning, I suspect that my mind needs this interim period.Maybe I’m dreaming up a better day than the one I would have if I charged right in.Western culture tends to look down on daydreamers—as if it’s a childish habit that we’re supposed to outgrow, along with make-believe games and imaginary friends.
Take a poor orphan headed to a job interview, for example.
Freud imagined the orphan fantasizing about getting the gig, wowing the boss, marrying his daughter, and taking over the business, thus recovering the family and comforts lost, all before reaching the meeting.
Most research on mind-wandering and daydreaming draws on either two methods: strict, laboratory conditions that ask people to complete boring, cognitive tasks and retrospective surveys that ask people to recall how often they daydream in daily life.
It has been rather difficult to compare these results to each other; laboratory tasks aren't representative of how we normally go about our day, and surveys are prone to memory distortion.
I let myself think that if it’s my heart’s desire, it’s okay to dream about in that moment.”I ask her why she doesn’t think this way all the time.
Quite reasonably, Foley says, ”I like that idea, but I worry it would lead to perpetual disappointment.
Maybe you’re just making wishes—the better to act on later.
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Kane’s team tracked 274 college students over a week as they daydreamed in their daily life, using electronic devices to prompt students to record their thoughts, as well as what they were currently doing, eight times a day.
The study also asked students about their daydreams in a traditional lab setting.