Mind Wandering : A Negative Impact On Learning

1780 Words8 Pages
A large proportion of the research on mind wandering has focused on the costs and benefits of mind wandering and how its effects relate to an educational environment. Mind wandering may be defined as the removal of attention from external stimuli or an immediate task towards unrelated concerns such as internal thoughts or imagined scenarios (Burton, Westen, & Kowalski, 2015). While mind wandering has been found to offer both positive and negative impacts, the common interpretation of recent research suggests that the costs of mind wandering significantly outweighs the benefits, particularly in higher education. Mind wandering has been found to have a negative impact on mood and cognitive abilities, including sustained attention, working memory and general intelligence (Mooneyham & Schooler, 2013). In an attempt to review the implications that mind wandering has on learning in higher education, this essay will briefly examine the costs and benefits of mind wandering. Typically, mind wandering occurs within the regular flow of consciousness; that is the flow of thoughts that run or ‘flow’ throughout the conscious mind. Much of the time however, the initiation of mind wandering is an unconscious process and many individuals do not realise its initial engagement. Many of the methods available that allow mind wandering episodes to be measured, rely heavily on experience sampling techniques and depend on participants correctly reporting the contents of their consciousness at
Open Document