Is a happy mind a focused one? Exploring the role of positive affect on mind wandering and student learning

Caitlin Sparkes (2011). Is a happy mind a focused one? Exploring the role of positive affect on mind wandering and student learning Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Caitlin Sparkes
Thesis Title Is a happy mind a focused one? Exploring the role of positive affect on mind wandering and student learning
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-11
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Total pages 82
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Mind wandering has been established in the literature as a universal human phenomenon, and one that occurs surprisingly often despite our best efforts. Given its ubiquitous nature, and due to its influence on practical outcomes, particularly in learning contexts, mind wandering is an important topic of research. Despite the frequency with which we experience mind wandering, we are often not aware that we are doing so. For this reason, research into factors thought to be associated with frequency of mind wandering holds both practical and theoretical relevance. One such article recently published in "Science," (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010) found emotional affect to be an important correlate of mind wandering frequency, such that individuals with more negative affect evidenced higher incidences of mind wandering. My study sought to expand on existing literature, by experimentally inducing positive and neutral affect to explore its casual relationship with mind wandering further. Interleaved with mood induction clips, participants were asked to attend to a series of educational film clips, during which they were probed for mind wandering at random intervals. There was a predicted relationship between affect and mind wandering, such that less mind wandering was expected for participants receiving the positive mood induction compared with those receiving the neutral mood induction. Affect was also expected to influence task memory, such that participants in the positive mood condition were expected to perform better on the educational film MCQ compared with the neutral mood condition. Though manipulation checks showed that the mood induction was successful, the predictions of affect influencing mind wandering and task memory were not supported. Implications of findings are discussed and suggestions are made for future research.
Keyword Mind wandering
Associated factors

 
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Created: Wed, 27 Jun 2012, 10:30:34 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology