David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Consciousness and Cognition 12 (3):452-484 (2003)
Task unrelated thought (TUT) refers to thought directed away from the current situation, for example a daydream. Three experiments were conducted on healthy participants, with two broad aims. First, to contrast distributed and encapsulated views of cognition by comparing the encoding of categorical and random lists of words (Experiments One and Two). Second, to examine the consequences of experiencing TUT during study on the subsequent retrieval of information (Experiments One, Two, and Three). Experiments One and Two demonstrated lower levels of TUT and higher levels of word-fragment completion whilst encoding categorical relative to random stimuli, supporting the role of a distributed resource in the maintenance of TUT. In addition the results of all three experiments suggested that experiencing TUT during study had a measurable effect on subsequent retrieval. TUT was associated with increased frequency of false alarms at retrieval (Experiment One). In the subsequent experiments TUT was associated with no advantage to retrieval based on recollection, by manipulating instructions at encoding (Experiment Two), and/or at retrieval (Experiment Three). The implications of the results of all three experiments are discussed in terms of recent accounts of memory retrieval and conscious awareness.
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Citations of this work BETA
Jonathan W. Schooler, Jonathan Smallwood, Kalina Christoff, Todd C. Handy, Erik D. Reichle & Michael A. Sayette (2011). Meta-Awareness, Perceptual Decoupling and the Wandering Mind. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 15 (7):319-326.
J. Smallwood, J. B. Davies, D. Heim, F. Finnigan, M. Sudberry & Obonsawin M. O'Connor R. (2004). Subjective Experience and the Attentional Lapse: Task Engagement and Disengagement During Sustained Attention. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (4):657-90.
James A. Cheyne, Jonathan S. A. Carriere & Daniel Smilek (2006). Absent-Mindedness: Lapses of Conscious Awareness and Everyday Cognitive Failures. Consciousness and Cognition 15 (3):578-592.
Jonathan Smallwood, Rory C. O'Connor, Megan V. Sudbery & Marc Obonsawin (2007). Mind-Wandering and Dysphoria. Cognition and Emotion 21 (4):816-842.
Paul Seli, James Allan Cheyne & Daniel Smilek (2012). Attention Failures Versus Misplaced Diligence: Separating Attention Lapses From Speed–Accuracy Trade-Offs. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (1):277-291.
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