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  Absorbed in thought: The effect of mind wandering on the processing of relevant and irrelevant events

Barron, E., Riby, L. M., Greer, J., & Smallwood, J. (2011). Absorbed in thought: The effect of mind wandering on the processing of relevant and irrelevant events. Psychological Science, 22(5), 596-601. doi:10.1177/0956797611404083.

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 Creators:
Barron, Evelyn1, Author
Riby, Leigh M.1, Author
Greer, Joanna1, Author
Smallwood, Jonathan2, Author           
Affiliations:
1Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
2Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634552              

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Free keywords: Cognitive; Event-related potential; Attention; Memory; Mind wandering; P3a; P3b; P300; Task-unrelated thought
 Abstract: This study used event-related potentials to explore whether mind wandering (task-unrelated thought, or TUT) emerges through general problems in distraction, deficits of task-relevant processing (the executive-function view), or a general reduction in attention to external events regardless of their relevance (the decoupling hypothesis). Twenty-five participants performed a visual oddball task, in which they were required to differentiate between a rare target stimulus (to measure task-relevant processes), a rare novel stimulus (to measure distractor processing), and a frequent nontarget stimulus. TUT was measured immediately following task performance using a validated retrospective measure. High levels of TUT were associated with a reduction in cortical processing of task-relevant events and distractor stimuli. These data contradict the suggestion that mind wandering is associated with distraction problems or specific deficits in task-relevant processes. Instead, the data are consistent with the decoupling hypothesis: that TUT dampens the processing of sensory information irrespective of that information’s task relevance.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2010-03-182011-01-022011-04-012011-05
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1177/0956797611404083
 Degree: -

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Title: Psychological Science
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Malden, MA : Blackwell Publishers
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 22 (5) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 596 - 601 Identifier: ISSN: 0956-7976
DOI: 10.1177/0956797611404083