Driven to distraction: A lack of change gives rise to mind wandering
SourceCognition, 173, (2018), pp. 133-137
Article / Letter to editor
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PI Group Statistical Imaging Neuroscience
Subject220 Statistical Imaging Neuroscience; Radboudumc 7: Neurodevelopmental disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
How does the dynamic structure of the external world direct attention? We examined the relationship between event structure and attention to test the hypothesis that narrative shifts (both theoretical and perceived) negatively predict attentional lapses. Self-caught instances of mind wandering were collected while 108 participants watched a 32.5 min film called The Red Balloon. We used theoretical codings of situational change and human perceptions of event boundaries to predict mind wandering in 5-s intervals. Our findings suggest a temporal alignment between the structural dynamics of the film and mind wandering reports. Specifically, the number of situational changes and likelihood of perceiving event boundaries in the prior 0–15 s interval negatively predicted mind wandering net of low-level audiovisual features. Thus, mind wandering is less likely to occur when there is more event change, suggesting that narrative shifts keep attention from drifting inwards.
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