Daydreaming appears to have a complex relationship with life satisfaction and happiness. Here we demonstrate that the facets of daydreaming that predict life satisfaction differ between men and women (Study 1; N=421), that the content of daydreams tends to be social others (Study 2; N=17,556), and that who we daydream about influences the relation between daydreaming and happiness variables like life satisfaction, loneliness, and perceived social support (Study 3; N=361). Specifically, daydreaming about people not close to us predicts more loneliness and less perceived social support, whereas daydreaming about close others predicts greater life satisfaction. Importantly, these patterns hold even when actual social network depth and breadth are statistically controlled, although these associations tend to be small in magnitude. Individual differences and the content of daydreams are thus important to consider when examining how happiness relates to spontaneous thoughts.
Mar, R. A., Malia Mason, and A. Litvack. "How daydreaming relates to life satisfaction, loneliness, and social support: The importance of gender and daydream content." Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2012): 401-407.
Each author name for a Columbia Business School faculty member is linked to a faculty research page, which lists additional publications by that faculty member.
Each topic is linked to an index of publications on that topic.