Ecological validity of mind wandering

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Annett Welz

At a Glance

  • Location: Mannheim, Germany
  • Date: 20.02.2015
  • Institution: Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim
  • Web Page: http://www.zi-mannheim.de

Study-Facts

  • Context: Master Thesis
  • Number of participants: 40
  • Number of days per participants: 5
  • Number of prompst per Day: 10
  • Number of Items: 14

Study

Aim of the study is to determine the ecological validity of mind wandering, defined as a shift of attention away from a primary task toward internal information (Smallwood & Schooler, 2006); by investigating associations between mind wandering in the lab and in daily life. The study will focus on the stability of mind wandering, the effect of mind wandering on positive and negative affect as well as its effect on heart rate variability.

Mind wandering will be assessed during a resting period of five minutes in two laboratory sessions taking place within a one-week lag. During the resting period, heart rate variability will also be measured. Positive and negative affect will be assessed immediately before and after the resting period. In the time period between the two laboratory sessions, mind wandering and momentary mood will be assessed in daily life for five days using smartphones (experience sampling). Possible moderating effects of trait rumination and trait mindfulness will also be examined.

Research Questions:

1. Is mind wandering a stable characteristic (a) in the lab, and (b) in daily life?

2. Is the extent of mind wandering (a) in the lab and (b) in daily life related to heart rate variability (measured in the lab)?

3. Does the extent of mind wandering in the lab predict positive and negative affect in the lab?

4. Does the extent of mind wandering in the lab predict the extent of mind wandering in daily life?

5. Does the extent of mind wandering in daily life predict positive and negative affect in daily life?

6. Do trait rumination and/or trait mindfulness moderate the association between mind wandering and positive and negative affect in daily life?