Assessing the relationship between trait and state levels of mind wandering during a tracing task

Abstract The aim of this study is to investigate whether trait differences in mind wandering can also predict state differences in mind wandering. More specifically, we ask whether dimensions of disengagement, improvisation, and navigation of mind wandering thoughts in daily life also influence these dimensions of mind wandering states during performance of a tracing task. Previous findings concerning the relationship between trait and state mind wandering are inconsistent. Although studies indicate a significant relationship between the two, the correlates of trait mind wandering and state mind wandering are not always the same. Because of this, we expect to shed some light on these inconsistencies by using a novel measure of mind wandering, which captures essential individual differences in the nature of the phenomenon. Our results indicate that individual differences in trait mind wandering significantly predict state differences in content variation of mind wandering and task performance, but not in perceptual decoupling or in mental navigation. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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