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Major project report: The eyes betray the mind: Pupil size indicates the presence of sticky mind-wandering

Verkaik, M. R. (2017) Major project report: The eyes betray the mind: Pupil size indicates the presence of sticky mind-wandering. Master's Thesis / Essay, Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.

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An important challenge when studying mind-wandering, is the detection of this covert phenomenon. Additionally, a specific property of mind-wandering, which can be referred to as stickiness, has been associated with vulnerability for developing depressive symptoms. The current study seeks to identify performance and pupillary markers of mind-wandering and its stickiness. During a sustained attention to response task (SART), we recorded participants’ accuracy, response times and pupil size. To assess the type of thoughts a person was having, thought probes regularly interrupted the task. Mind-wandering and sticky thoughts were found to be associated with behavioural and pupillary patterns of an automatic and stimulus-driven response style, that has been theorised to place minimal demands on cognitive resources. These findings indicate that mind-wandering and its stickiness could potentially be recognised in various contexts, by looking for signals of this specific energy-saving mode. Additionally, our results imply that mind-wandering is a resource-consuming process that leaves little reserves for the performance of other tasks.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:28
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:28

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