A new study has suggested that an average person has 6,200 thoughts per day.
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- Last Updated: July 19, 2020, 11:43 AM IST
Thousands of thoughts cross our mind through the day. Many people even complain that they can’t sleep immediately after going to bed as their brain does not stop thinking. Now, a new study has suggested that an average person has 6,200 thoughts per day.
The study published in the journal Nature Communications was carried out by psychologists at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.
To conduct the research, the psychologists relied on a method that pinpoints the beginning and ending of a thought. The researchers isolated specific moments when an individual is focused on a single idea. They described this state of focused thinking as “thought worm.”
“What we call thought worms are adjacent points in a simplified representation of activity patterns in the brain. The brain occupies a different point in this ‘state space’ at every moment,” said Jordan Poppenk, who is the Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience.
He added that when a person moves on to a new thought, he creates a new thought worm. It emerges with new events. Investigating into the creation process helped the psychologists confirm the idea that the appearance of a new thought worm corresponds to a thought transition.
The study was performed while having the subjects watch movies. During each film, 184 participants watched three or four clips scattered with 20 second rest periods. The subjects also saw 84 second validation clip repeated at the end of each run.
As they viewed movies, the researchers performed functional magnetic resonance imaging on each subject. Under this method, brain activity is measured by looking at changes with blood flow.
“Being able to measure the onset of new thoughts gives us a way to peek into the ‘black box’ of the resting mind – to explore the timing and pace of thoughts when a person is just daydreaming about dinner and otherwise keeping to themselves,” Poppenk said.