A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 11/2010; 330(6006):932. DOI: 10.1126/science.1192439
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We developed a smartphone technology to sample people’s ongoing thoughts, feelings, and actions and found (i) that people
are thinking about what is not happening almost as often as they are thinking about what is and (ii) found that doing so typically
makes them unhappy.

  • Source
    • "On the one hand, there are general relationships between elements of nighttime dreams and daydreaming style within individuals; for example, a daydreaming style characterized by anxiety and distractibility is correlated with nighttime dreams that are highly bizarre and emotional (Starker, 1974). Further, a qualitative review of studies that have assessed the content of dreams and daydreams (Fox, Nijeboer, Solomonova, Domhoff, & Christoff, 2013) concluded that the two were similar in several respects, i.e., consisting of predominantly audiovisual sensory content (Klinger, 2009; Schredl, 2010), containing emotion (Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010; Kramer, Roth, Arand, & Bonnet, 1981) reflecting current concerns and long-term memories, and lacking meta-awareness. On the other hand, dream content is distinct from waking daydreams in that dreams contain more unfamiliar settings, bizarreness, and victimization than do waking daydreams (see reviews in Fox et al., 2013; Strauch & Lederbogen, 1999). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Differences between nighttime REM and NREM dreams are well-established but only rarely are daytime REM and NREM nap dreams compared with each other or with daydreams. Fifty-one participants took daytime naps (with REM or NREM awakenings) and provided both waking daydream and nap dream reports. They also provided ratings of their bizarreness, sensory experience, and emotion intensity. Recall rates for REM (96%) and NREM (89%) naps were elevated compared to typical recall rates for nighttime dreams (80% and 43% respectively), suggesting an enhanced circadian influence. All attribute ratings were higher for REM than for NREM dreams, replicating findings for nighttime dreams. Compared with daydreams, NREM dreams had lower ratings for emotional intensity and sensory experience while REM dreams had higher ratings for bizarreness and sensory experience. Results support using daytime naps in dream research and suggest that there occurs selective enhancement and inhibition of specific dream attributes by REM, NREM and waking state mechanisms. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Consciousness and Cognition 07/2015; 36:196-205. DOI:10.1016/j.concog.2015.06.012 · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "There is a positivity bias in mental time travel , that is , people would generate more positive events than negative events ( Walker et al . , 2003b ; Killingsworth and Gilbert , 2010 ) . This bias has been found to be stronger when thinking about the future ( Berntsen and Bohn , 2010 ) . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Mental time travel refers to the ability to recall episodic past and imagine future events. The present study aimed to investigate cultural differences in mental time travel between Chinese and Australian university students. A total of 231 students (108 Chinese and 123 Australians) participated in the study. Their mental time travel abilities were measured by the Sentence Completion for Events from the Past Test (SCEPT) and the Sentence Completion for Events in the Future Test (SCEFT). Results showed that there were no cultural differences in the number of specific events generated for the past or future. Significant differences between the Chinese and Australian participants were found mainly in the emotional valence and content of the events generated. Both Chinese and Australian participants generated more specific positive events compared to negative events when thinking about the future and Chinese participants were more positive about their past than Australian participants when recalling specific events. For content, Chinese participants recalled more events about their interpersonal relationships, while Australian participants imagined more about personal future achievements. These findings shed some lights on cultural differences in episodic past and future thinking.
    Frontiers in Psychology 06/2015; 6:879. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00879 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "When trying to attend to an object, there is more opportunity to notice mind-wandering. Although we are often largely unaware that we have mentally " wandered off, " one study indicates we are in this mode roughly 50% of the time (Killingsworth and Gilbert, 2010). The generic term " selfgenerated thoughts " has been proposed to capture this type of mental activity (Smallwood and Schooler, 2014). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this article, we present ideas related to three key aspects of mindfulness training: the regulation of attention via noradrenaline, the importance of working memory and its various components (particularly the central executive and episodic buffer), and the relationship of both of these to mind-wandering. These same aspects of mindfulness training are also involved in the preparation and execution of movement and implicated in the pathophysiology of psychosis. We argue that by moving in a mindful way, there may be an additive effect of training as the two elements of the practice (mindfulness and movement) independently, and perhaps synergistically, engage common underlying systems (the default mode network). We discuss how working with mindful movement may be one route to mindfulness training for individuals who would struggle to sit still to complete the more commonly taught mindfulness practices. Drawing on our clinical experience working with individuals with severe and enduring mental health conditions, we show the real world application of these ideas and how they can be used to help those who are suffering and for whom current treatments are still far from adequate.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00282 · 2.90 Impact Factor
Show more


Available from