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ERIC Number: EJ993755
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
The Role of Mind-Wandering in Measurements of General Aptitude
Mrazek, Michael D.; Smallwood, Jonathan; Franklin, Michael S.; Chin, Jason M.; Baird, Benjamin; Schooler, Jonathan W.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v141 n4 p788-798 Nov 2012
Tests of working memory capacity (WMC) and fluid intelligence (gF) are thought to capture variability in a crucial cognitive capacity that is broadly predictive of success, yet pinpointing the exact nature of this capacity is an area of ongoing controversy. We propose that mind-wandering is associated with performance on tests of WMC and gF, thereby partially explaining both the reliable correlations between these tests and their broad predictive utility. Existing evidence indicates that both WMC and gF are correlated with performance on tasks of attention, yet more decisive evidence requires an assessment of the role of attention and, in particular, mind-wandering during performance of these tests. Four studies employing complementary methodological designs embedded thought sampling into tests of general aptitude and determined that mind-wandering was consistently associated with worse performance on these measures. Collectively, these studies implicate the capacity to avoid mind-wandering during demanding tasks as a potentially important source of success on measures of general aptitude, while also raising important questions about whether the previously documented relationship between WMC and mind-wandering can be exclusively attributed to executive failures preceding mind-wandering (McVay & Kane, 2010b). (Contains 4 figures, 3 tables and 5 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; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California