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Apr 29, 2021

My guest today is Professor Jonathan Smallwood (@the_mindwanders), Professor of Psychology at Queens University in Canada.

Jonny researches the neuroscience of the phenomenon of spontaneous, internally generated thought, as exemplified by mind-wandering and day-dreaming. To me, this is an interesting topic because it is; a) something that we do all the time, b) relevant to high-prevalence mental health conditions (such as rumination and worry in depression and anxiety), and c) is quite different from other most neuroscience areas that tend to be studied through specific tasks.

In this conversation, we discuss the function of mind-wandering, whether it makes us unhappy, its relationship to the default-mode network, the position of the default-mode network in the brain's processing hierarchy and the challenges and opportunities of studying spontaneous thought.