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  Is self-generated thought a means of social problem solving?

Ruby, F. J. M., Smallwood, J., Sackur, J., & Singer, T. (2013). Is self-generated thought a means of social problem solving? Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 962. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00962.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0014-C061-B Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-8592-1
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Ruby, Florence J. M.1, Author              
Smallwood, Jonathan1, Author              
Sackur, Jerome2, Author
Singer, Tania1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634552              
2Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives and Psycholinguistique, École normale supérieure, Paris, France, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Self-generated thought; Mind-wandering; Social problem-solving; Thought content; Task performance and analysis
 Abstract: Appropriate social problem solving constitutes a critical skill for individuals and may rely on processes important for self-generated thought (SGT). The aim of the current study was to investigate the link between SGT and social problem solving. Using the Means-End Problem Solving task (MEPS), we assessed participants' abilities to resolve daily social problems in terms of overall efficiency and number of relevant means they provided to reach the given solution. Participants also performed a non-demanding choice reaction time task (CRT) and a moderately-demanding working memory task (WM) as a context in which to measure their SGT (assessed via thought sampling). We found that although overall SGT was associated with lower MEPS efficiency, it was also associated with higher relevant means, perhaps because both depend on the capacity to generate cognition that is independent from the hear and now. The specific content of SGT did not differentially predict individual differences in social problem solving, suggesting that the relationship may depend on SGT regardless of its content. In addition, we also found that performance at the WM but not the CRT was linked to overall better MEPS performance, suggesting that individuals good at social processing are also distinguished by their capacity to constrain attention to an external task. Our results provide novel evidence that the capacity for SGT is implicated in the process by which solutions to social problems are generated, although optimal problem solving may be achieved by individuals who display a suitable balance between SGT and cognition derived from perceptual input.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2013-05-302013-12-062013-12-23
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00962
PMID: 24391621
PMC: PMC3870294
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Title: Frontiers in Psychology
  Abbreviation : Front Psychol
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Pully, Switzerland : Frontiers Research Foundation
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 4 Sequence Number: 962 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1664-1078
CoNE: /journals/resource/1664-1078