Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Working Memory Capacity and Dissociations of Emotional Valence and Intensity on Subjective and Objected Reports of Mind Wandering

Event Location / Date(s)

New Orleans, LA

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name / Publication Title

Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society


The current study examined the impact of affect valence and intensity on subjective and objective reports of mind wandering. Participants first completed the Automated Operation Span and Automated Reading Span. Affect valence (positive or negative) and intensity (intense or mild) were then manipulated through a writing task. Lastly, participants completed a sustained attention task (SART) with thought probes to measure mind wandering. Examining SART reaction time (RT) variability, working memory capacity (WMC) interacted with affect intensity, with high spans showing less RT variability in the mild intensity condition only. This suggests intense emotions reduce the relationship between WMC and mind wandering. In contrast, on self-reported thought probes, WMC interacted with affect valence, with high spans reporting more TUTs than low spans, but only under negative affect. Overall, affect valence might impact subjective reports of mind wandering, whereas intensity impacts objective measures of mind wandering.