Have you ever been driving your car or travelling a familiar route on public transport and had that moment where you suddenly “wake up” and think to yourself, “How on earth did I get here? I must have zoned out!” As mentioned previously, the non-conscious parts of our brain take charge of repetitive tasks, such as breathing, regulating body temperature and – sometimes – driving. It frees brainpower for us to use in more complicated information processing and decision-making tasks that typically involve the most recently evolved part of our brain, known as the pre-frontal cortex (PFC).
Essentially, we’re on autopilot most of the time, even though we’d like to think we’re exerting conscious control over events. This ...