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The benefits of daydreaming - Elizabeth Cox

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On a daily basis, you spend between a third and half of your waking hours daydreaming. That may sound like a huge waste of time, but scientists think it must have some purpose, or humans wouldn’t have evolved to do so much of it. So, what exactly happens in the brain while you daydream? Elizabeth Cox takes a closer look at the science of daydreaming through the mind of a teenager.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Elizabeth Cox
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer, Hani Furstenberg
  • Storyboard Artist Wing Luo
  • Animation Supervisor Amarello Rodrigues
  • Lead Animator Hanna Rybak, Murilo Jardim
  • Animator Volodymyr Shtun, Ihor Karas, Vlad Zhelikhovskyi
  • Art Director Nuri Keli, Hanna Rybak
  • Sound Designer Weston Fonger
  • Composer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Science Consultant Caitlin Mills
Additional Resources for you to Explore
More About the Brain

Want to know more about how the brain works? Check out this informative video by National Geographic. For a more in-depth look at the structures and functions of the brain, head on over to this video by Bozeman Science.

Check out this TED-Ed playlist and dive into the mysterious inner-workings of our brains; find out what happens when our hippocampus is removed, how much of what we see is hallucinated, how marijuana affects the brain, and more.

The Benefits of Daydreaming and Letting Your Mind Wander

Even though it is often discouraged in traditional classrooms and work environments, many argue that there are upsides to daydreaming, such as reaching your goals, improved creativity, and improved performance on tasks.

Read more here about the benefits of daydreaming and what the science says about it. A research paper published in APS analyzes the benefits of letting your mind wander and other task-unrelated thinking. Another study indicates that daydreamers are better at remembering information in the face of distractions.
Avatar for Mariela Ortiz
Sometimes people use daydreaming as a way to avoid real life situations. Do you agree that is a good thing or a bad thing?
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Elizabeth Cox
  • Director Biljana Labovic
  • Narrator Alexandra Panzer, Hani Furstenberg
  • Storyboard Artist Wing Luo
  • Animation Supervisor Amarello Rodrigues
  • Lead Animator Hanna Rybak, Murilo Jardim
  • Animator Volodymyr Shtun, Ihor Karas, Vlad Zhelikhovskyi
  • Art Director Nuri Keli, Hanna Rybak
  • Sound Designer Weston Fonger
  • Composer Weston Fonger
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Producer Alexandra Zubak
  • Associate Producer Abdallah Ewis
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Editorial Producer Elizabeth Cox
  • Science Consultant Caitlin Mills

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