Do you focus on the task at hand?

16:00, Feb 27 2014
Think Tank
THINK TANK: Michael Corballis and Anne Cave launch the Think Talks at Selwyn College Theatre next week.

Are you guilty of having a wandering mind? Do you find yourself drifting into a daydream when you should be focusing on your work?

Don't worry, it's completely normal.

Emeritus Professor Michael Corballis from the University of Auckland says people drift off task about 47 per cent of the time.

"In some respects it's regarded as a bad thing, like kids not paying attention in school. My wife got the strap when she was a little girl for looking out the window, because her mind was somewhere else,' he says.

However, Dr Corballis says the wandering mind actually helps people revive memories, plan for the future and be creative.

"It's something that is natural to the human condition, and it's important to the human condition, even if it upsets school teachers," he says.


Dr Corballis will be discussing the topic next week at Think Talks, a series of lectures on Tuesday evenings at Selwyn College Theatre in Kohimaramara.

His session on The Wandering Mind will kick off the series, followed by talks by Bill McKay and Jian Guan in the later weeks.

Selwyn Community Education director Anne Cave says the one-hour sessions have been styled on the popular TED Talks and are designed to spark debate.

"There's a huge number of people who are retired who've got incredibly active brains and are constantly looking for something that is going to stimulate them," she says.

"Sometimes it can be difficult for people to get to the city for talks, so I thought we should we should bring some of it out to the eastern suburbs."

The Wandering Mind talk is on March 4, at 7.30pm in the Selwyn College Theatre.

Entry is by gold coin donation. Visit selwyncomed. for more information.

East And Bays Courier