Impact Factor


Front. Psychol., 23 September 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00626

Ode to positive constructive daydreaming

Rebecca L. McMillan1,2, Scott Barry Kaufman3* and Jerome L. Singer4
  • 1Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Online, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 2The Creativity Post, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 3New York University, New York, NY, USA
  • 4Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Nearly 60 years ago, Jerome L. Singer launched a groundbreaking research program into daydreaming (Singer, 1955, 1975, 2009) that presaged and laid the foundation for virtually every major strand of mind wandering research active today (Antrobus, 1999; Klinger, 1999, 2009). Here we review Singer’s enormous contribution to the field, which includes insights, methodologies, and tools still in use today, and trace his enduring legacy as revealed in the recent proliferation of mind wandering studies. We then turn to the central theme in Singer’s work, the adaptive nature of positive constructive daydreaming, which was a revolutionary idea when Singer began his work in the 1950s and remains underreported today. Last, we propose a new approach to answering the enduring question: Why does mind wandering persist and occupy so much of our time, as much as 50% of our waking time according to some estimates, if it is as costly as most studies suggest?

Keywords: daydreaming, positive constructive daydreaming, volitional daydreaming, mind wandering, Jerome L. Singer, creativity, intelligence, default mode network

Citation: McMillan RL, Kaufman SB and Singer JL (2013) Ode to positive constructive daydreaming. Front. Psychol. 4:626. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00626

Received: 28 June 2013; Accepted: 24 August 2013;
Published online: 23 September 2013.

Edited by:

Jessica Andrews-Hanna, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

Reviewed by:

Bernard J. Baars, The Neurosciences Institute, USA
Eric Klinger, University of Minnesota, Morris, USA

Copyright © 2013 McMillan, Kaufman and Singer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Scott Barry Kaufman, Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Place, Room 158, NY 10003, New York e-mail: scott.barry.kaufman@nyu.edu