Mind wandering during reading: An interdisciplinary and integrative review of psychological, computing, and intervention research and theory

Sidney K. D'Mello, Caitlin S. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

A large proportion of thoughts are internally generated. Of these, mind wandering—when attention shifts away from the current activity to an internal stream of thought—is frequent during reading and is negatively related to comprehension outcomes. Our goal is to review research on mind wandering during reading with an interdisciplinary and integrative lens that spans the cognitive, behavioural, computing and intervention sciences. We begin with theoretical developments on mind wandering, both in general and in the context of reading. Next, we discuss psychological research on how the text, context and reader interact to influence mind wandering and on associations between mind wandering and reading outcomes. We integrate the findings in a (working) theoretical account of mind wandering during reading. We then turn to computational models of mind wandering, including a short tutorial with examples on how to use machine learning to construct these models. Finally, we discuss emerging intervention research aimed at proactively reducing the occurrence of mind wandering or mitigating its effects. We conclude with open questions and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12412
JournalLinguistics and Language Compass
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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