Previous research has shown that the content and frequency of mind-wandering episodes—the occurrence of thoughts that are both stimulus-independent and task-unrelated—are closely related to an individual’s future-related concerns. Whether this relationship is shaped by the affective changes that are usually associated with future-related concerns still remains unclear, however. In this study, we induced the anticipation of a negatively valenced event and examined whether the ensuing affective changes were related to the occurrence and content of mind-wandering during an unrelated attentional task. (...) We found that the increase in negative affect following concern induction predicted the general frequency of mind-wandering episodes. Furthermore, mind-wandering episodes specifically directed at the induced concern were related to a lower decrease in negative affect during the attentional task. These results suggest that the negative emotional impact of future-related concerns is an important factor to be taken into consideration for the subsequent occurrence of mind-wandering episodes, which might in turn be involved in the maintenance of negative affect over time. (shrink)
Niedenthal et al. discuss the importance of eye gaze in embodied simulation and, more globally, in the processing of emotional visual stimulation (such as facial expression). In this commentary, we illustrate the relationship between oriented eye movements, consciousness, and emotion by using the case of severely brain-injured patients recovering from coma (i.e., vegetative and minimally conscious patients).
We challenge Ruchkin et al.'s claim in reducing short-term memory (STM) to the active part of long-term memory (LTM), by showing that their data cannot rule out the possibility that activation of posterior brain regions could also reflect the contribution of a verbal STM buffer.