Mind-Wandering as a Natural Kind: A Family-Resemblances View.

TitleMind-Wandering as a Natural Kind: A Family-Resemblances View.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSeli P, Kane MJ, Smallwood J, Schacter DL, Maillet D, Schooler JW, Smilek D
JournalTrends Cogn Sci
Date Published2018 Jun

As empirical research on mind-wandering accelerates, we draw attention to an emerging trend in how mind-wandering is conceptualized. Previously articulated definitions of mind-wandering differ from each other in important ways, yet they also maintain overlapping characteristics. This conceptual structure suggests that mind-wandering is best considered from a family-resemblances perspective, which entails treating it as a graded, heterogeneous construct and clearly measuring and describing the specific aspect(s) of mind-wandering that researchers are investigating. We believe that adopting this family-resemblances approach will increase conceptual and methodological connections among related phenomena in the mind-wandering family and encourage a more nuanced and precise understanding of the many varieties of mind-wandering.

Alternate JournalTrends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.)
PubMed ID29776466
PubMed Central IDPMC5962028
Grant ListR01 AG008441 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States