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Nary a person denies the occasional bout of mental drift, and the most honest may admit considerably greater frequency and duration. To assuage their feelings, they might be interested to know that more of the brain is active during mind wandering than during structured activity. But what does such a brain state, which employs what is called the default network, accomplish? Psychologist Corballis takes us on a mental journey through the implications, which include such diverse phenomena as a sense of time—including incorporating the past to imagine the future—the ability to intuit what others are thinking and even the development of language.
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