Psychological scientist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor of the University of Southern California, and colleagues reviewed the existing scientific literature from neuroscience and psychological science about the brain "at rest."
The findings, published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, said the studies suggested individual differences in brain activity during rest are correlated with components of socioemotional functioning, such as self-awareness and moral judgment, as well as different aspects of learning and memory.
Immordino-Yang and colleagues said the research on the brain at rest can yield important insights into the importance of reflection and quiet time for learning.
"We focus on the outside world in education and don't look much at inwardly focused reflective skills and attentions, but inward focus impacts the way we build memories, make meaning and transfer that learning into new contexts," Immordino-Yang, a professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California. "What are we doing in schools to support kids turning inward?"
The research suggested the networks that underlie a focus inward versus outward likely are interdependent, and our ability to regulate and move between them probably improves with maturity and practice.