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Poster A25

Exploring the Relationship Between Self-Reported Mind-Wandering and Executive-Functioning

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

Bhavneet Chohan1, Chelsie Hart1, Brandy Callahan1, Julia Kam1; 1University of Calgary

We commonly experience moments where our minds shift away from the task at hand to task-unrelated thoughts, sometimes referred to as mind-wandering (MW). Although MW can lead to positive outcomes, it is often associated with less desirable outcomes, including decrements on task performance. The potential negative impacts of MW on daily functioning highlight the importance of understanding how we can regulate MW. One suggested regulatory mechanism is executive-functioning (EF), which are higher-order cognitive processes that modulate one’s thoughts and behaviours. The relationship between MW and EF has been studied using a variety of experimental tasks. This study expands prior work using self-report questionnaires, which can provide important information not captured in experimental settings. In this study, we examined the relationship between MW and EF using the Mind Excessively Wandering Scale (MEWS) to measure excessive levels of MW, and the Barkley Deficits in Executive-Functioning Scale-Long Form (BDEFS-LF) to measure EF in terms of sub-dimensions of executive dysfunction. In 81 participants (age 17-36 years; M=19) we found that total scores on the MEWS were strongly positively correlated to BDEFS-LF total score, as well as BDEFS-LF subscale scores. Results from the partial correlation analysis revealed similar findings; however, a negative partial correlation was found between MEWS scores and BDEFS-LF self-motivation subscale scores, when accounting for all other subscales. Overall, the results suggest that individuals self-reporting higher levels of excessive MW report higher levels of executive dysfunction, but EF sub-dimensions may overlap in their explanation of this relationship.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Nonspatial


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April 13–16  |  2024