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Fantasy, daydreaming and mind wandering
A very active field of research and clinical interest over the last decade is on the dynamics of daydreaming and mind wandering, and how it relates to the so-called Default Mode Network in the brain. This is the network that has been shown to have background activity while humans are not actively engaged in the outside world with a complicated or structured cognitive task. When awake and merely sitting down, lying quietly, strolling or doing some routine or monotonous tasks that don’t require much thinking effort, this Network in the brain shows typical activation patterns that are filled with significance and psychological meaning.
When we consider the various functions of the clusters in this Default Mode Network, it is fascinating to conclude from that the content of our fantasies, daydreams and mind wanderings. Multiple studies have shown many advantages to allocating some daily time to daydreaming, and that it is, and was, a daily routine of many well-known and especially highly productive and creative individuals.
Carl Jung’s so-called Black Books and Red Book contain a personal journal of extensive fantasies expressed through writing, art, images and symbols. Some of Jung’s practical guidelines, perceptive statements and usable insights from these books will also be touched upon during the lecture, especially for its relevance to one’s own understanding of spontaneous thought and its link to deeper psychological processes.
More about the Presenter
Dr Deon van Zyl has been in private practice for the last 30 years as a clinical psychologist, management consultant, mediator and group facilitator. He is a former Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Pretoria, where he worked for 13 years. He is past chairperson of the South African Institute for Clinical Psychology, and the current African Representative for the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD). He has received two academic awards and a research award from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), as well as an award for post-doctoral research from the Ernest Oppenheimer Memorial Trust for study in the U.S.A. He has published 20 academic papers including a recent book on Amazon’s Kindle, 5 book chapters, over 30 published conference proceedings, book prefaces and popular articles. He has delivered numerous papers at conferences in South Africa, the U.S.A., Europe and Japan.
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