Reply To: Psychotherapy with LH patients

  • Mike Todd

    June 20, 2023 at 7:50 am

    Hi Don,

    The following article arrived on my feed this morning. I believe it describes the kind of intellectualising I mentioned previously, and it reminded me that I often used to wonder as I wandered, reflecting unawares on the latest book or essay as I walked through the local woods and fields (a la Wordsworth, as noted by Thoreau: “Here is his library, but his study is out of doors”). I regularly realised a truth that the article highlights: “many of our best ideas catch us by surprise while we’re … strolling through the woods”.

    Of relevance to this discussion thread is the following observation the article makes:

    While past research has focused on mind wandering’s negative impact on happiness and well-being, Schooler found that not all mind wandering is created equal. One of his lab’s previous studies showed that when people mind wander, they become less happy than when they’re mentally present and on task. “But we also asked people to indicate what they were mind wandering about. And if they were mind wandering about something they were especially interested in, they were actually happier than when they were on task.” This discovery led him to distinguish between mind wandering and what he termed “mind wondering.”

    And then there’s this:

    People who ask questions and really listen to the responses encourage a change in brain activity. They create more neural flexibility through open, exploratory questioning. And the people who do that, Wheatley found, not only have the ability to receive and integrate other people’s points of view, but they also act as hubs in their social network.

    By “really listen” I understand “pay attention”, which, when placed in the context of the above quote, appears to affirm the theme of recent discussions Dr. McGilchrist has had: [paying] attention [is] a moral act.