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  1. ITV Report

York scientist finds 'autopilot' brain is real during daydreaming research

Dr Vatansever Credit: University of York

A scientist at the University of York has found that part of the brain used for daydreaming also helps us to do things "on autopilot".

Deniz Vatansever, a research associate in the department of psychology, has found the so-called ‘default mode network’ could be vital in helping people perform routine tasks.

His studies have shown this part of the brain is what enables anyone to do something they are familiar with, without needing to think their way through the action.

Dr Vatansever found this out while working on his PhD. It could help in the treatment of brain disorders and mental health conditions.

Rather than waiting passively for things to happen to us, we are constantly trying to predict the environment around us. Our evidence suggests it is the default mode network that enables us do this. It is essentially like an autopilot that helps us make fast decisions when we know what the rules of the environment are.

So for example, when you’re driving to work in the morning along a familiar route, the default mode network will be active, enabling us to perform our task without having to invest lots of time and energy into every decision.

– Dr Vatansever, University of York