In 1926, in his classic yet often-forgotten The Art of Thought, Graham Wallas warned against engaging distractions like reading the newspaper.

Newspaper reading is for most of us a life-long training in the bad habit of mildly enjoying and completely forgetting an infinite series of disconnected ideas, of which the only useful result is the possibility that the worn path of our subconscious thought may in some future crisis make the way to the formation of conscious conclusion rather more easy.

When I talk to people about rest and mind-wandering, people often ask whether video games or social media count as mind-wandering. My answer is that really simple video games– ones at the level of Pac-Man– might, but more sophisticated ones are less likely to; and social media is unlikely to facilitate mind-wandering. Games that are highly predictable can be played in a state of mental semi-detachment; but social media, pretty much by its nature, invites mental absorption and distraction, not mind-wandering.