An Average Person Has 6,200 Thoughts a Day, New Study Findsadmin
According to new research by psychologists from Queen’s University in Canada, “an average person living a typical day” will most likely have approximately 6,200 thoughts in a single day, IFLScience.com reports. This is the first time that researchers have been able to detect indirectly when one thought ends and another begins, according to a statement from the University.
“What we call thought worms are adjacent points in a simplified representation of activity patterns in the brain,” study author and Assistant Professor at Queen’s Department of Psychology Dr. Jordan Poppenk said. “The brain occupies a different point in this ‘state space’ at every moment. When a person moves onto a new thought, they create a new thought worm that we can detect with our methods.”
These “thought worms” were identified using fMRI brain imaging and new templates of brain patterns. Poppenk stressed they experienced a breakthrough when he and his team stopped focusing on what a person was thinking, and instead began focusing on when a new thought began occurring. “You could say that we’ve skipped over vocabulary in an effort to understand the punctuation of the language of the mind,” Poppenk said.
“We also noticed that thought worms emerge right as new events do when people are watching movies. Drilling into this helped us validate the idea that the appearance of a new thought worm corresponds to a thought transition.”
As with any new method, this technique still has its limitations, particularly the fact that it requires the researchers to develop a template for every idea they want to observe, “effectively meaning they must have a clear idea about what he person is thinking about in order to identify the number of transitions between thoughts,” Tom Hale writes.
“We think the methods offer a lot of potential; we hope to make heavy use of them in our upcoming work,” Poppenk said.