When does our mind wander?
Mind-wandering involves shifting the focus of our thoughts from external cues to self-generated thought. These studies show that people are less likely to do this when they are engaged in a difficult task than an easy one.
Seli, P., Konishi, M., Risko, E. F., & Smilek, D. (2018). The role of task difficulty in theoretical accounts of mind wandering. Consciousness and cognition, 65, 255–262.
Xu, J. & Metcalfe, J. (2016). Studying in the region of proximal learning reduces mind wandering. Memory & Cognition, 44, 681–695. Focus on Experiment 2.
Teasdale J.D. Dritschel B.H. Taylor M.J. Proctor L. Lloyd C.A. Nimmo-Smith I. (1995). Stimulus-independent thought depends on central executive resources. Memory and Cognition, 23, 551–559. Focus on Experiments 1 and 2.
Where does our mind wander?
Mind-wandering involves shifting the focus of our thoughts from external cues to self-generated thought. When people do this, they are more likely to focus on the future than the past.
Baird, B., Smallwood, J. & Schooler, J.W. (2011). Back to the future: Autobiographical planning and the functionality of mind-wandering. Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 1604-1611. Ignore the OSPAN parts of this paper.
Stawarczyk, D., Majerus, S., Michalina M., Van der Lindena, M., D’Argembeau, A. (2011). Mind-wandering: Phenomenology and function as assessed with a novel experience sampling method. Acta Psychologica, 136, 370-381. Focus on the “personal goals” condition of Experiment 2.
Seli, P., Ralph, B. C., Konishi, M., Smilek, D., & Schacter, D. L. (2017). What did you have in mind? Examining the content of intentional and unintentional types of mind wandering. Consciousness and Cognition, 51, 149–156.