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date: 03 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Enormous questions still loom for the emerging science of spontaneous thought: What, exactly, is spontaneous thought? Why does the human brain engage in spontaneous forms of thinking, and when is this most likely to occur? And perhaps the question most interesting and accessible from a scientific perspective: How does the brain generate, elaborate, and evaluate its own spontaneous creations? The central aim of this volume is to bring together views from neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, phenomenology, history, education, contemplative traditions, and clinical practice in order to begin to address the ubiquitous but poorly understood mental phenomena collectively known as “spontaneous thought.” Perhaps no other mental experience is so familiar in daily life, and yet so difficult to understand and explain scientifically. The present volume represents the first effort to bring such highly diverse perspectives to bear on answering the what, when, why, and how of spontaneous thought.

Keywords: mind-wandering, creativity, dreaming, daydreaming, spontaneous thought, self-generated thought

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