The Neuroscience Of Paying Attention (Or Not)

Martinos Center investigators are exploring neural processes associated with mind-wandering. Do you find your thoughts straying—a lot—from whatever it is you need to be focusing on? If so, you’re not alone. Studies show that we spend 30 to 50 percent of our waking hours engaged in mind-wandering. Researchers have been working to understand better why this happens, trying to uncover the brain mechanisms of mind-wandering. This can be difficult, though—not least because the studies typically rely on subjects telling the researchers when their thoughts begin to drift and this self-reporting is considerably slower than the underlying neural processes. Now, the MGH Martinos Center’s Aaron Kucyi, working with colleagues from MGH and Harvard and Boston University, is studying other, related processes that can help to uncover the mechanisms of mind-wandering: processes…

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