NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ991420
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Pages: 25
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 137
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Drifting from Slow to "D'oh!": Working Memory Capacity and Mind Wandering Predict Extreme Reaction Times and Executive Control Errors
McVay, Jennifer C.; Kane, Michael J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v38 n3 p525-549 May 2012
A combined experimental, individual-differences, and thought-sampling study tested the predictions of executive attention (e.g., Engle & Kane, 2004) and coordinative binding (e.g., Oberauer, Suss, Wilhelm, & Sander, 2007) theories of working memory capacity (WMC). We assessed 288 subjects' WMC and their performance and mind-wandering rates during a sustained-attention task; subjects completed either a go/no-go version requiring executive control over habit or a vigilance version that did not. We further combined the data with those from McVay and Kane (2009) to (1) gauge the contributions of WMC and attentional lapses to the worst performance rule and the tail, or [tau] parameter, of reaction time (RT) distributions; (2) assess which parameters from a quantitative evidence-accumulation RT model were predicted by WMC and mind-wandering reports; and (3) consider intrasubject RT patterns--particularly, speeding--as potential objective markers of mind wandering. We found that WMC predicted action and thought control in only some conditions, that attentional lapses (indicated by task-unrelated-thought reports and drift-rate variability in evidence accumulation) contributed to [tau], performance accuracy, and WMC's association with them and that mind-wandering experiences were not predicted by trial-to-trial RT changes, and so they cannot always be inferred from objective performance measures. (Contains 10 tables, 8 figures and 6 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Stroop Color Word Test