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See Inside April/May 2007

The Prodigal Mind

Our minds are built to wander, according to a new study that argues we have a network of brain regions dedicated to meandering thoughts that turns off and on depending on how focused we need to be to complete different tasks.

Previous studies have shown that this “default” network, which is composed of at least seven separate brain regions, kicks in anytime we are at rest—say, passively taking in a TV show or a sunset. But the function of letting our gray matter go gallivanting has been unclear.

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