On the link between mind wandering and task performance over time.
Here we test the hypothesis that fluctuations in subjective reports of mind wandering over time-on-task are associated with fluctuations in performance over time-on-task. In Study 1, we employed a singleton search task and found that performance did not differ prior to on- and off-task reports, nor did individual differences in mind wandering predict differences in performance (so-called standard analytic methods). Importantly however, we find that fluctuations in mind wandering over time are strongly associated with fluctuations in behavior. In Study 2, we provide a replication of the relation between mind wandering and performance over time found in Study 1, using a Flanker interference task. These data indicate (1) a tight coupling between mind wandering and performance over time and (2) that a temporal-analytic approach can reveal effects of mind wandering on performance in tasks where standard analyses fail to do so. The theoretical and methodological implications of these findings are discussed.
Thomson, DR; Seli, P; Besner, D; Smilek, D
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