Class Notes (836,153)
Canada (509,662)
Psychology (2,094)
PSYC 260 (11)
Julia Kam (11)

Part II - Lectures 10 & 11.doc

9 Pages
Unlock Document

PSYC 260
Julia Kam

Mind Wandering • Our minds drift away from demands of the immediate external environment to focus on the internal milieu o “Stimulus-independent thought” o “Task-unrelated thought” o “Daydreaming” o “Tune-outs” o “Zone-outs” • Bottom-up o Doing a task that is more mundane and simple o Attention-grabbing stimulus is internal o Triggered by something that is happening externally • Top-down o Something that we intentionally allow ourselves to think about o E.g. our future goals • Task-related attention o On-task  When one’s attention is firmly directed towards the task o Mind wandering  When one’s attention has drifted away from the external task • How do we measure “mind wandering”? o Experience sampling at various intervals  Compare behavioural data of being on-task and mind wandering o Questionnaires o Behavioural measures of reaction times and the number of errors committed while carrying out a task • What affects mind wandering frequency? o Age  Older adults tend to mind-wander less than younger adults o Individuals with personal concerns mind-wander more than others  Unfulfilled “open goals” tend to pull our attention away from on-going tasks o Dysphoric (mildly depressed) individuals tend to mind-wander more than those who are not dysphoric o People doing a non-demanding, mundane task are more likely to mind-wander than someone who is doing a demanding, challenging task • Mind-wandering research o Three mains issues!  Neural networks  Qualitative contents of thoughts  Impact of mind-wandering on neural and cognitive processing • Neural network of mind-wandering o Default mode network (DMN)  DMN regions are more active during internally focused tasks and deactivate during externally focused tasks o The brain is not idle at rest.  In the past, researchers had assumed that at the baseline level, there was no activity in the brain.  DMN regions are more active when the brain is “at rest” and consist of reflecting on internal information o Stimulus-independent thoughts (SITs) & default mode network (Masons et al., 2007)  Research question: Is DMN implicated in mind wandering?  Methods: Participants were trained on tasks so their minds could wander when they performed practiced blocks, which were compared to novel blocks. Production of SITs and DMN activity were assessed.  Hypothesis: Individuals should exhibit greater recruitment of the DMN when performing tasks that are associated with a high incidence of SIT.  Results: DMN regions showed greater activity during practiced blocks relative to novel blocks. • DMN regions include medial prefrontal cortex + cingulate + insula + posterior cingulate  Conclusion: DMN regions are activated during periods in which mind wandering is most likely to occur, suggesting that mind-wandering constitutes a psychological baseline that emerges when the brain is unoccupied. o Mind-wandering and default mode network (Christoff et al., 2009)  Research question 1: Does DMN recruitment occur during the precise moments when the mind wanders?  Research question 2: What is the role of the executive system of the brain during mind wandering?  Methods: Participants performed the sustained attention to response tasks (SART) in the scanner, measuring a person’s ability to withhold responses to infrequent and unpredictable stimuli during a period of rapid and rhythmic responding to frequent stimuli. • Experience sampling (which asks participants to stop at certain times during their tasks and make notes of their experience in real time) was used to provide a measure of mind wandering  Results: Regions of the DMN (dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, ventral ACC, precuneus, temporoparietal junction, prefrontal cortex, and insula) were activated during mind-wandering without awareness. Similar regions were activated during mind-wandering with awareness, but to a lesser degree.  Key finding 1: Mind wandering was associated with recruitment of regions that form the core of the default mode network. This recruitment is most pronounced in the absence of meta-awareness.  Key finding 2: Mind wandering entails recruitment of the executive system of the brain. o Thought content, activity, & mood (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010)  Naturalistic study, and correlational (no cause-and-effect)  Questions asked about happiness, activity, and mind wandering  Mind wandering occurs frequently (~47%)—it is ubiquitous  The type of activity did not have a huge impact on mind-wandering frequency.  People were less happy when mind-wandering than when they were not, regardless of the type of activities (even when compared to the least enjoyable activities), therefore making the researchers conclude that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. o Thought content & mood (Franklin et al., 2013)  Asking students whether they were off-task via a PDA  Differentiated thoughts based on how interesting, useful, and novel they were  Highly interesting or useful thoughts are associated with higher levels of happiness, suggesting that the thought content influences our mood.  Result 1: Mind wandering is generally associated with lower positive mood.  Result 2: Content of thought (during mind wandering) can enhance mood: high-interest mind-wandering episodes are associated with more positive mood than on-task episodes o Sensory response (Kam et al., 2011)  Question: Do fluctuations in task-related attention attenuate sensory inputs at a cortical level?  Sustained attention to response (SART) task: participants occasionally reported their attentional state as they performed SART, while their EEGs were being recorded.  Methods: measured the P1 or P100 signal (the first positive component that occurs about 100 ms after presentation of stimulus) of the ERP in the occipital lobe, as well as the N1 or N100 signal (the first negative component that occurs about 100 ms after onset of stimulus) of the ERP in the frontocentral lobe • Experience sampling prompted by a blue screen  Results: amplitudes of both P1 (visual) and N1 (auditory) were attenuated during periods of mind wandering relative to on-task; in other words, when we are on task, we are showing greater response to the visual and auditory stimuli.  Discussion: Both sensory responses of task-irrelevant visual and auditory stimuli were selectively reduced during mind wandering relative to on-task states. • This suggests that when our attention drifts off-task, this can lead to transient reductions in the intensity of sensory-evoked cortical activity across multiple sensory domains. o Cognitive response (Smallwood et al., 2008)  Question: Are periods of mind wandering associated with reduced cognitive analysis of the external environment?  Differentiated between tune-outs (aware of mind wandering away from the task at the time the thought probe was presented) and zone-outs (off- task but unaware of and surprised by having been mind-wandering away from the task at the thought probe was presented)  Methods: measured the P3 or P300 signal in ERP that occurred in the parietal lobe about 300 ms after stimulus onset  Results: P3 amplitudes were attenuated during periods of mind wandering relative to on-task  Discussion: When the mind wanders, there is a reduction in the depth of cognitive analysis of task-relevant stimuli in the external environment.
More Less

Related notes for PSYC 260

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.