MadSci Network: Neuroscience
Query:

Re: Does Daydreaming Occur in the Visual Cortex?

Date: Mon Sep 6 16:47:48 2010
Posted By: Lane Niles, Ph.D., President and Chief Science Officer
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 1278075925.Ns
Message:

Brain activity related to daydreaming seems to be similar to sleep dreaming with the same brain areas activated. (Never know the relevance of brain areas whose activity decreases.) Anyway, a useful article can be found here:

Christoff, Kalina; Alan M. Gordon, Jonathan Smallwood, Rachelle Smith, and Jonathan W. Schooler (2009-05-11). "Experience sampling during fMRI reveals default network and executive system contributions to mind wandering". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (21): 8719 24.
doi:10.1073/pnas.0900234106

The brain areas are associated with "problem-solving", which means that a lot of activity is occuring in the front of the brain (pre-frontal so- called decision-making areas) as well as deeper frontal regions. Curiously, less is found in the occipital regions -- visual cortex. This is probably because the visual areas actually are processing the sensory input from the eyes to build the actual visual scene. The scene is put together from back-to-front in the brain -- that is, the scene becomes more full of details from many regions of the visual field to fill our "mind's eye". So, less activity in back, but more in the front where we act on the visual scene.


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