I’m sitting here, trying to think of something to write about. They say everything comes from somewhere. Lately, while filling out Amazon reviews or writing yet another blog post about word press plugins, I’ve been struck with vivid memories of my childhood. A car ride down a well-traveled road, a field, the face of a childhood friend, images popping up in front of my face in the middle of writing boring content.
What could explain this strange phenomenon? I did a little digging and came across the term, “mind pops”. These seemingly random words or images come to people more often when they’re doing routine tasks, like brushing their teeth, or when they’re not very concentrated on the task at hand. They are said to arise from associations with a stimulus, be it a word, sound, sight, smell, and may lie dormant for hours, even days before surfacing.
In my case, this would explain why I’ve been having so many images of roads back home pop up in my mind lately. I’ve been reviewing auto parts lately, a lot of shocks actually, and almost every new review I’ll write the words “road” or “rides” at least once. The road to Grand Detour passing the turn to school, coming out of a curve on Nine Curves Road, the road to Grandma’s house, all pop up in my mind as vividly as when I last saw them.
Listening to music, writing boring, repetitive copy, the mind does tend to wander. I guess these “mind pops” are evidence that I’m not all there when writing such stuff. It’s not like I’m trying to think of something to distract myself from the drudgery of work, it just happens. They say that creative people have them more often. That’s comforting.
Another explanation for this phenomenon is that mind pops might be the building blocks of hallucinations. To test the idea, a professor and her colleagues conducted a survey of 31 healthy adults, 31 depressed adults, and 31 schizophrenic adults about their mind pops. All the schizophrenic adults said they had experienced them while six of the depressed adults and five of the healthy ones had never experienced one in their entire lives. What’s more, the schizophrenic adults said they had them around 3 or 4 times a week, while the depressed patients had them only once or twice a month and the healthy once every six months.
Even if it’s only one study, the evidence suggests that mind pops are more common among the mentally ill than the healthy. There’s not enough evidence to suggest a connection between the sudden memories and hallucinations. As for me, it’s got me worried. I’m either an artistic phoenix awaiting his glorious rebirth, or I’m setting down the blocks to my own future, padded cell.