Indulging in fantasies may seem like the pastime of the lazy, but it is far from frivolous, say researchers. Most fantasies serve a purpose.
Your daydreams and reveries can be entertaining, distracting, or frightening. In the case of sexual fantasies, they can be arousing – and, yes, good for the brain.
We all know how fantasizing about sex gets certain juices flowing. As it turns out, sexual fantasies also stimulate your analytical thinking skills. Daydreaming about love, on the other hand, makes you more creative, according to one study.
The Love and Sex State of Mind
It all began while researchers were pondering over the various states of the human mind. Previous research suggests that our problem-solving abilities change depending on our states of mind.
Intrigued, researchers from Germany and the Netherlands had wondered how love and sex might affect our cognitive functions.
To find out, they assembled a focus group of 60 individuals and split them into two groups. They asked one group to think about loving and romantic thoughts.
They asked the other group to concentrate on sexual fantasies. They then gave the subjects cognitive tests.
When You are What You Think
The group’s research revealed that notions of love trigger global brain processing. This is a state in which we see the big picture and associate dissimilar ideas.
Sex, on the other hand, initiates more local processing in which the brain fixes firmly on details. Subsequently, the group that had fantasized about sex revealed that sexual daydreams motivate the analytical part of the brain.
This part helps us concentrate in situations that require problem-solving skills. Participants in the study proved to be far better at analytical tasks right after indulging in a sexual fantasy.
The subjects who were primed on love performed much better on creative tasks. They scored worse on analytical questions.
“Surprising Strength of Effects”
These findings indicate that our ideas about love play into a more idealistic brain space. This is especially true for longer-term mental narratives.
“I was surprised about the strength of the effects,” says researcher Jens Förster, a social psychologist at the University of Amsterdam.
The researchers now wonder whether the “big picture” perspective strengthens relationships.
They are curious to find out whether this mindset helps couples overcome complex relationship difficulties.
What do you think? And while you’re here, do you know that around 61% of women have fantasies about non-consensual sex?