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Poster A33

Examining Intra-Individual Associations between Mind Wandering and Response Time Variability as a Function of Time-on-Task

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Brooke Schwartzman1 (, Anthony P. Zanesco1, Ekaterina Denkova1, Amishi P. Jha1; 1University of Miami

There has been recent interest in the role of mind wandering, having off-task thoughts during an ongoing task or activity, on characteristic patterns of worsening performance with greater time-on-task, referred to as the vigilance decrement. Yet, little is known about intra-individual associations between mind wandering and task performance during ongoing task performance. Herein, mind wandering and response time variability were evaluated as a function of time-on-task across two studies (Exp 1, N=310; Exp 2, N=144) in which participants performed the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) with task-embedded probes to index mind wandering. Rates of probe-caught mind wandering were found to increase with greater time-on-task during performance of both 10-min (Exp 1) and 20-min (Exp 2) versions of the SART. Similarly, response time variability increased with greater time-on-task. To examine the relation between mind wandering and performance, we evaluated covariance between within-task changes in individuals' rates of mind wandering and response time. In both studies, bivariate growth curve modeling revealed that increases in mind wandering were reliably associated with increases in response time variability. In addition, self-reported task motivation was found to moderate both mind wandering and response time variability. Individuals with higher (vs. lower) motivation demonstrated reductions in the deleterious impact of time-on-task on both mind wandering and task performance. These results provide support for models that directly implicate mind wandering in worsening behavioral performance with greater time-on-task in continuous performance tasks requiring sustained attention.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Other


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April 13–16  |  2024