Oxford University Press, 2018. — 654 p.Where do spontaneous thoughts come from? It may be surprising that the seemingly straightforward answers "from the mind" or "from the brain" are in fact an incredibly recent understanding of the origins of spontaneous thought. For nearly all of human history, our thoughts - especially the most sudden, insightful, and important - were almost universally ascribed to divine or other external sources. Only in the past few centuries have we truly taken responsibility for their own mental content, and finally localized thought to the central nervous system - laying the foundations for a protoscience of spontaneous thought. But enormous questions still loom: what, exactly, is spontaneous thought? Why does our 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 and evaluate its own spontaneous creations? Spontaneous thought includes our daytime fantasies and mind-wandering; the flashes of insight and inspiration familiar to the artist, scientist, and inventor; and the nighttime visions we call dreams.This Handbook brings together views from neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, phenomenology, history, education, contemplative traditions, and clinical practice to begin to address the ubiquitous but poorly understood mental phenomena that we collectively call 'spontaneous thought.'In studying such an abstruse and seemingly impractical subject, we should remember that our capacity for spontaneity, originality, and creativity defines us as a species - and as individuals. Spontaneous forms of thought enable us to transcend not only the here and now of perceptual experience, but also the bonds of our deliberately-controlled and goal-directed cognition; they allow the space for us to be other than who we are, and for our minds to think beyond the limitations of our current viewpoints and beliefs.Introduction: Toward an Interdisciplinary Science of Spontaneous Thought Why the Mind Wanders: How Spontaneous Thoughts Default Variability May Support Episodic Efficiency and Semantic Optimization An Exploration/Exploitation Trade-off Between Mind-Wandering and Goal-Directed Thinking When the Absence of Reasoning Breeds Meaning: Metacognitive Appraisals of Spontaneous Thought The Mind Wanders with Ease: Low Motivational Intensity Is an Essential Quality of Mind-Wandering How Does the Brains Spontaneous Activity Generate Our Thoughts? The Spatio temporal Theory of Task-Unrelated Thought (STTT) Investigating the Elements of Thought: Toward a Component Process Account of Spontaneous Cognition The Philosophy of Mind-Wandering Why Is Mind-Wandering Interesting for Philosophers? Spontaneity in Evolution, Learning, Creativity, and Free Will: Spontaneous Variation in Four Selectionist Phenomena How Does the Waking and Sleeping Brain Produce Spontaneous Thought and Imagery, and Why? Spontaneous Thinking in Creative Lives: Building Connections Between Science and History The Neuroscience of Spontaneous Thought: An Evolving Interdisciplinary Field Neural Origins of Self-Generated Thought: Insights from Intracranial Electrical Stimulation and Recordings in Humans Mind-Wandering and Self-Referential Thought Phenomenological Properties of Mind-Wandering and Daydreaming: A Historical Overview and Functional Correlates Spontaneous Thought and Goal Pursuit: From Functions Such as Planning to Dysfunctions Such as Rumination Unraveling What’s on Our Minds: How Different Types of Mind-Wandering Affect Cognition and Behavior Electrophysiological Evidence for Attentional Decoupling during Mind-Wandering Mind-Wandering in Educational Settings Interacting Brain Networks Underlying Creative Cognition and Artistic Performance Spontaneous and Controlled Processes in Creative Cognition Wandering and Direction in Creative Production Flow as Spontaneous Thought: Insight and Implicit Learning Internal Orientation in Aesthetic Experience Neuropsychopharmacology of Flexible and Creative Thinking Dreaming Is an Intensified Form of Mind-Wandering, Based in an Augmented Portions of the Default Network Neural Correlates of Self-Generated Imagery and Cognition Throughout the Sleep Cycle Spontaneous Thought, Insight, and Control in Lucid Dreams Microdream Neurophenomenology: A Paradigm for Dream Neuroscience Sleep Paralysis: Phenomenology, Neurophysiology, and Treatment Dreaming and Waking Thought as a Reflection of Memory Consolidation Involuntary Autobiographical Memories: Spontaneous Recollections of the Past Potential Clinical Benefits and Risks of Spontaneous Thought: Unconstrained Attention as a Way into and a Way out of Psychological Disharmony Candidate Mechanisms of Spontaneous Cognition as Revealed by Dementia Syndromes Rumination Is a Sticky Form of Spontaneous Thought Pain and Spontaneous Thought Spontaneous Thought in Contemplative Traditions Catching the Wandering Mind: Meditation as a Window into Spontaneous Thought Spontaneous Mental Experiences in Extreme and Unusual Environments Cultural Neurophenomenology of Psychedelic Thought: Guiding the “Unconstrained” Mind Through Ritual Context
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