|Mind wandering minimizes mind numbing: Reducing semantic-satiation effects through absorptive lapses of attention.
|Year of Publication
|Mooneyham BW, Schooler JW
|Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Mind wandering is associated with perceptual decoupling: the disengagement of attention from perception. This decoupling is deleterious to performance in many situations; however, we sought to determine whether it might occur in the service of performance in certain circumstances. In two studies, we examined the role of mind wandering in a test of "semantic satiation," a phenomenon in which the repeated presentation of a word reduces semantic priming for a subsequently presented semantic associate. We posited that the attentional and perceptual decoupling associated with mind wandering would reduce the amount of satiation in the semantic representations of repeatedly presented words, thus leading to a reduced semantic-satiation effect. Our results supported this hypothesis: Self-reported mind-wandering episodes (Study 1) and behavioral indices of decoupled attention (Study 2) were both predictive of maintained semantic priming in situations predicted to induce semantic satiation. Additionally, our results suggest that moderate inattention to repetitive stimuli is not sufficient to enable "dishabituation": the refreshment of cognitive performance that results from diverting attention away from the task at hand. Rather, full decoupling is necessary to reap the benefits of mind wandering and to minimize mind numbing.
|Psychon Bull Rev