The Wandering Mind: An Examination of the Predictors and Consequences of Mind Wandering
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It has been reported that when listening to a lecture, the average student spends approximately one third of lecture time thinking about things unrelated to the lecture material (Szpunar et al., 2013). With that said, drifting off mentally during the performance of a task is something that everyone experiences to some extent. This state of being where our internal thoughts are unrelated to the task being performed has been termed mind wandering (MW), and has been studied increasingly in recent years. Despite this increase in research on the topic, explanations for why MW occurs in the first place, and how it affects constructs such as attention and memory remain limited. The current study examined whether memory retrieval tendencies and executive control (EC) were able to predict the propensity to MW, and further assessed how MW affected retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). We found evidence that both EC and memory retrieval tendencies are significant predictors of MW propensity. However, there was no evidence to suggest that MW had an effect on RIF. Overall, our findings provide a novel view of MW’s relationship with both memory and attention, and suggests that higher MW propensity is not always detrimental to performance on memory and EC tasks.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/22936
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