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Title:Differentiating states in mind wandering
Author(s):Zukosky, Meera W.
Advisor(s):Wang, Frances Ranxaio
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mind Wandering Working Memory Mindfulness Task Reading Difficulty
Abstract:It is understood that mind wandering utilizes executive resources to some extent, but the underlying processes involved with the initiation and maintenance of mind wandering remains unclear. Here we used a new approach to estimate the time of focus and time of mind wandering separately in two different experiments. In experiment 1, we combined the self-caught and probe-caught methods to estimate the time of focus and time of mind wandering separately, and examined their relationship to working memory capacity. Here participants performed an OSPAN task and subsequently a basic Mindfulness Meditation Task (focus on breath), where participants indicated when they became aware that they were mind wandering (self-caught method and subsequently the probe-caught method). Results showed that time of focus but not time of mind wandering increased with greater working memory capacity, suggesting that individuals with higher working memory capacity were able to focus on the current task longer, but had little effect on the ability to catch themselves mind wandering after it occurred. In experiment 2, participants read both easy and difficult reading passages and the method of probing for mind wandering experiences were similar to experiment 1 (self-caught method and subsequently the probe-caught method). Here results showed longer time of focus in the easy readings compared to the hard readings, but no difference in time of mind wandering, suggesting that individuals were able to focus longer on the easy readings, but once mind wandering occurs, it will last a comparable amount of time regardless of reading difficulty. Taken together, these results indicate the importance of separating the initiation from the maintenance of mind wandering.
Issue Date:2017-12-15
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Meera Zukosky
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-03-13
Date Deposited:2017-12

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