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The silver lining of a mind in the clouds: interesting musings are associated with positive mood while mind-wandering.

Franklin MS, Mrazek MD, Anderson CL, Smallwood J, Kingstone A, Schooler JW - Front Psychol (2013)

Bottom Line: Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood.Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes.These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

ABSTRACT
The negative effects of mind-wandering on performance and mood have been widely documented. In a recent well-cited study, Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) conducted a large experience sampling study revealing that all off-task episodes, regardless of content, have equal to or lower happiness ratings, than on-task episodes. We present data from a similarly implemented experience sampling study with additional mind-wandering content categories. Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood. However, subsequent analyses reveal situations in which a more positive mood is reported after being off-task. Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes. These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.

No MeSH data available.


(A) Displays the mean positive mood ratings based on whether participants reported being on- vs. off-task for a given probe and (B) displays the mean positive mood ratings for off-task reports based on the three content categories participants were asked to use to rate their mind-wandering episode on. Error bars representing 95% confidence intervals are plotted for this figure using methods taken from Loftus and Masson (1994).
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Figure 1: (A) Displays the mean positive mood ratings based on whether participants reported being on- vs. off-task for a given probe and (B) displays the mean positive mood ratings for off-task reports based on the three content categories participants were asked to use to rate their mind-wandering episode on. Error bars representing 95% confidence intervals are plotted for this figure using methods taken from Loftus and Masson (1994).

Mentions: Subsequent analyses at the sample-level were done similarly to Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010; see supplemental methods) using a mixed effects model with a random intercept for subject (proc Mixed in SAS). This analysis increases power to detect effects in nested designs, making use of all the thought probe data while accounting for within subject correlations. First, we tested the general finding of Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) that mind-wandering is associated with a less positive (“happy”) mental state. Consistent with the original findings, on-task reports had a higher positive mood rating (mean = 3.42, SD = 0.62) than off-task reports (mean = 3.27, SD = 0.63; b = 0.16, SE = 0.04; F(1,3502) = 18.84, p < 0.0001; see Figure 1A).


The silver lining of a mind in the clouds: interesting musings are associated with positive mood while mind-wandering.

Franklin MS, Mrazek MD, Anderson CL, Smallwood J, Kingstone A, Schooler JW - Front Psychol (2013)

(A) Displays the mean positive mood ratings based on whether participants reported being on- vs. off-task for a given probe and (B) displays the mean positive mood ratings for off-task reports based on the three content categories participants were asked to use to rate their mind-wandering episode on. Error bars representing 95% confidence intervals are plotted for this figure using methods taken from Loftus and Masson (1994).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3755259&req=5

Figure 1: (A) Displays the mean positive mood ratings based on whether participants reported being on- vs. off-task for a given probe and (B) displays the mean positive mood ratings for off-task reports based on the three content categories participants were asked to use to rate their mind-wandering episode on. Error bars representing 95% confidence intervals are plotted for this figure using methods taken from Loftus and Masson (1994).
Mentions: Subsequent analyses at the sample-level were done similarly to Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010; see supplemental methods) using a mixed effects model with a random intercept for subject (proc Mixed in SAS). This analysis increases power to detect effects in nested designs, making use of all the thought probe data while accounting for within subject correlations. First, we tested the general finding of Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) that mind-wandering is associated with a less positive (“happy”) mental state. Consistent with the original findings, on-task reports had a higher positive mood rating (mean = 3.42, SD = 0.62) than off-task reports (mean = 3.27, SD = 0.63; b = 0.16, SE = 0.04; F(1,3502) = 18.84, p < 0.0001; see Figure 1A).

Bottom Line: Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood.Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes.These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA, USA.

ABSTRACT
The negative effects of mind-wandering on performance and mood have been widely documented. In a recent well-cited study, Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) conducted a large experience sampling study revealing that all off-task episodes, regardless of content, have equal to or lower happiness ratings, than on-task episodes. We present data from a similarly implemented experience sampling study with additional mind-wandering content categories. Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood. However, subsequent analyses reveal situations in which a more positive mood is reported after being off-task. Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes. These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.

No MeSH data available.