Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Philosophy Explorer
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Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

I find I do. For example, when I'm playing an electronic game, at points where I'm stuck, I find I do better when I'm interrupted.

How about you? Do you find when your mind/brain is distracted or thinking about something else or relaxed, you think better? (I recall Henri Poincare saying that after thinking hard about a problem, he comes up with answers later on when his mind becomes preoccupied with something else or being relaxed)

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alpha
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by alpha »

i don't think you can find a correlation, or consistency in this case. it depends on many factors, and results would be mixed.
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

Philosophy Explorer wrote:I find I do. For example, when I'm playing an electronic game, at points where I'm stuck, I find I do better when I'm interrupted.

How about you? Do you find when your mind/brain is distracted or thinking about something else or relaxed, you think better? (I recall Henri Poincare saying that after thinking hard about a problem, he comes up with answers later on when his mind becomes preoccupied with something else or being relaxed)

PhilX
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wtf
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by wtf »

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
How about you? Do you find when your mind/brain is distracted or thinking about something else or relaxed, you think better? (I recall Henri Poincare saying that after thinking hard about a problem, he comes up with answers later on when his mind becomes preoccupied with something else or being relaxed)
I just happened to run across a related factoid the other day. John von Neumann preferred to work in a noisy environment.

Von Neumann did some of his best work blazingly fast in noisy, chaotic environments, and once admonished his wife for preparing a quiet study for him to work in. He never used it, preferring the couple's living room with its television playing loudly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann
Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

wtf wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:
How about you? Do you find when your mind/brain is distracted or thinking about something else or relaxed, you think better? (I recall Henri Poincare saying that after thinking hard about a problem, he comes up with answers later on when his mind becomes preoccupied with something else or being relaxed)
I just happened to run across a related factoid the other day. John von Neumann preferred to work in a noisy environment.

Von Neumann did some of his best work blazingly fast in noisy, chaotic environments, and once admonished his wife for preparing a quiet study for him to work in. He never used it, preferring the couple's living room with its television playing loudly.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_von_Neumann
This reminds me of Leonhard Euler doing math while holding his baby in his arms.

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bergie15
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by bergie15 »

I don't do better thinking that way. I could never study or read without it being silent. Though some people can do that somehow.
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alpha
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by alpha »

i used to do it (when studying or such), but just to sort of combine studying with entertainment. studying is pretty boring by itself, after all.
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Dunce
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by Dunce »

Von Neumann did some of his best work blazingly fast in noisy, chaotic environments, and once admonished his wife for preparing a quiet study for him to work in. He never used it, preferring the couple's living room with its television playing loudly.
So far studies have had mixed results, but it could be that those who can read in a noisy environment have higher levels of cerebral striation than those who can't. The different functions of their brains seem to be more compartmentalised. Those who need near-silence to read also seem to be more likely to have aural hallucinations (hearing voices). They have poor source monitoring, but tend to be more imaginative.
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by Dunce »

Philosophy Explorer wrote:(I recall Henri Poincare saying that after thinking hard about a problem, he comes up with answers later on when his mind becomes preoccupied with something else or being relaxed)
Spookily, mere minutes after reading and commenting on this topic I started to read Meaning in Mathematics edited by John Polkinghorne (OUP 2011) and there on page 31 was the tale of how Henri Poincare found a complete solution to a problem connected with the theory of Fuchsian functions with which he had been wrestling, only when he decided to give it a rest and go on holiday. I suspect a good night's sleep might have had something to do with it... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8090730.stm
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by bergie15 »

You are more likely to have aural hallucinations if you need silence to read? Who said this? I have never heard that before.
Blueswing
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by Blueswing »

bergie15 wrote:You are more likely to have aural hallucinations if you need silence to read? Who said this? I have never heard that before.
Nobody said anything. You must have been having an aural hallucination.
a wandering cloud
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Re: Do you do better thinking when you're not fully focused?

Post by a wandering cloud »

When we are not fully focused, we don't do better thinking, nonetheless because we want to do our best, we still do come up with something good and substantial, and doing that because it makes us feel validated and good, it gives us the impression that we tend to do better thinking when not fully focused. So the answer is that we don't do better thinking when we're not fully focused.
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