Influencing the occurrence of mind wandering while reading

Kristopher Kopp, Sidney D'Mello, Caitlin Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The current concerns hypothesis suggests that directing attention towards unfulfilled plans of the individual prior to a task would result in more off-task thoughts (or mind wandering). In this experiment, participants were asked to read a scientific text and self-report instances of mind wandering by indicating when they were experiencing task-unrelated thoughts (TUTs) or task-related interferences (TRIs). Prior to reading, participants in the individual plans experimental condition were asked to reflect upon their short-term plans by making a "to do" list while participants in a control condition were asked to make a list of the components of an automobile. In support of the current concerns hypothesis, directing attention towards the short-term plans resulted in significantly more TUTs, but not TRIs. Furthermore, participants in the individual plans condition had significantly lower scores on an assessment of reading comprehension, and this relationship was mediated by the frequency of TUTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-62
Number of pages11
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Attention
  • Comprehension
  • Current concerns
  • Mind wandering
  • Reading


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