Zachary C. Irving's research while affiliated with University of Virginia and other places

Publications (22)

Article
Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have reached the consensus that one can use two different kinds of regulation to achieve self-control. Synchronic regulation uses willpower to resist current temptation. Diachronic regulation implements a plan to avoid future temptation. Yet this consensus may rest on contaminated intuitions. Specifically...
Preprint
Philosophers, psychologists, and economists have reached the consensus that one can use two different kinds of regulation to achieve self-control. Synchronic regulation uses willpower to resist current temptation. Diachronic regulation implements a plan to avoid future temptation. Yet this consensus may rest on contaminated intuitions. Specifically...
Article
Full-text available
Judgments of blame for others are typically sensitive to what an agent knows and desires. However, when people act negligently, they do not know what they are doing and do not desire the outcomes of their negligence. How, then, do people attribute blame for negligent wrongdoing? We propose that people attribute blame for negligent wrongdoing based...
Article
Full-text available
Attribution theorists assume that character information informs judgments of blame. But there is disagreement over why. One camp holds that character information is a fundamental determinant of blame. Another camp holds that character information merely provides evidence about the mental states and processes that determine responsibility. We argue...
Article
Humans spend much of their lives engaging with their internal train of thoughts. Traditionally, research focused on whether or not these thoughts are related to ongoing tasks, and has identified reliable and distinct behavioral and neural correlates of task-unrelated and task-related thought. A recent theoretical framework highlighted a different a...
Article
Although mind-wandering research is rapidly progressing, stark disagreements are emerging about what the term "mind-wandering" means. Four prominent views define mind-wandering as (a) task-unrelated thought, (b) stimulus-independent thought, (c) unintentional thought, or (d) dynamically unguided thought. Although theorists claim to capture the ordi...
Preprint
Attribution theorists widely assume that people rely on character assessments to assign blame. But there is disagreement over why. One camp holds that character has a fundamental effect on blame. Another camp holds that character merely provides evidence about the mental states and processes that determine responsibility. We provide empirical evide...
Preprint
In this chapter, we survey methodological challenges in the empirical study of mind wandering and provide a metaphysical framework that begins to address these challenges. We argue that mind wandering is a passive manifestation of agency—passive because people cannot mind wander on command and a manifestation of agency because the onset, progressio...
Article
Full-text available
Philosophers have long been fascinated by the stream of consciousness – thoughts, images, and bits of inner speech that dance across the inner stage. Yet for centuries, such ‘mind‐wandering’ was deemed private and thus resistant to empirical investigation. Recent developments in psychology and neuroscience have reinvigorated scientific interest in...
Preprint
Although mind-wandering research is rapidly progressing, stark disagreements are emerging about what the term “mind-wandering” means. Four prominent views define mind-wandering as 1) task-unrelated thought, 2) stimulus-independent thought, 3) unintentional thought, or 4) dynamically unguided thought. Although theorists claim to capture the ordinary...
Article
Can we be responsible for our attention? Can attention be epistemically good or bad? Siegel tackles these under‐explored questions in “Selection Effects”, a pathbreaking chapter of The Rationality of Perception. In this chapter, Siegel develops one of the first philosophical accounts of attention norms. Her account is inferential: patterns of atten...
Chapter
An often- overlooked characteristic of the human mind is its propensity to wander. Despite growing interest in the science of mind- wandering, most studies operationalize mind- wandering by its taskunrelated contents, which may be orthogonal to the processes constraining how thoughts are evoked and unfold over time. This chapter emphasizes the impo...
Article
Mind wandering is frequently defined as task-unrelated or perceptually decoupled thought. However, these definitions may not capture the dynamic features of a wandering mind, such as its tendency to 'move freely'. Here we test the relationship between three theoretically dissociable dimensions of thought: freedom of movement in thought, task-relate...
Article
An often-overlooked characteristic of the human mind is its propensity to wander. Despite growing interest in the science of mind-wandering, most studies operationalize mind-wandering by its task-unrelated contents, which may be orthogonal to the processes constraining how thoughts are evoked and unfold over time. In this chapter, we emphasize the...
Article
Full-text available
Anticorrelation between the default network (DN) and dorsal attention network (DAN) is thought to be an intrinsic aspect of functional brain organization reflecting competing functions. However, the effect size of functional connectivity (FC) between the DN and DAN has yet to be established. Furthermore, the stability of anticorrelations across dis...
Article
Full-text available
Most research on mind-wandering has characterized it as a mental state with contents that are task unrelated or stimulus independent. However, the dynamics of mind-wandering - how mental states change over time - have remained largely neglected. Here, we introduce a dynamic framework for understanding mind-wandering and its relationship to the recr...
Preprint
Anticorrelation between the default network (DN) and dorsal attention network (DAN) is thought to be an intrinsic aspect of functional brain organization reflecting competing functions. However, the stability of anticorrelations across distinct DN subsystems, different contexts, and time, remains unexplored. Here we examine DN-DAN functional connec...
Article
Although mind-wandering occupies up to half of our waking thoughts, it is seldom discussed in philosophy. My paper brings these neglected thoughts into focus. I propose that mind-wandering is unguided attention. Guidance in my sense concerns how attention is monitored and regulated as it unfolds over time. Roughly speaking, someone’s attention is g...
Article
We present a family of counter-examples to David Christensen's Independence Criterion, which is central to the epistemology of disagreement. Roughly, independence requires that, when you assess whether to revise your credence in P upon discovering that someone disagrees with you, you shouldn't rely on the reasoning that lead you to your initial cre...
Article
In practice, scientists must convey data in a “representational style” (e.g., as a numerical array or visual representation). Various authors seek to explain the epistemic role of scientific visual representation in terms of formal conventions (e.g., Goodman, Perini, and Kulvicki). Goodman also tends to dismiss the epistemic relevance of human cogn...
Article
Two separate conceptions of intelligence persist within the cognitive science community: The psychometric conception in terms of general intelligence (g), and the categorical conception in terms of the criteria that an entity must meet to be an intelligent cognitive agent. In this paper, we argue that a framework of intelligence in terms of relevan...

Citations

... Thus, mind wandering affected the executive function of stopping an incipient response and also affected general task performance. Similar slowing of responses during mind wandering has also been reported previously (Kam et al., 2021;Stawarczyk et al., 2014). ...
... Actually, MW refers to a wide range of experiences that vary in content, intentionality, and relationship between activities and external stimuli (Seli et al., 2018). Four theories, in particular, have been put forward (Irving et al., 2020). The standard approaches to MW define this phenomenon as either task-unrelated thought (thought disengaged from one's primary task) and/or stimulus-independent thought (i.e., thought decoupled from perception; Smallwood & Schooler, 2006;Smallwood & Schooler, 2015). ...
... Spontaneous thoughts and experiences in sleep and wakefulness also seem well suited to the investigation of the state-dependence question because, by definition, they arise naturally, allowing waking mind wandering and sleep-related experiences to be compared on an equal footing. The prospects for experimentally inducing mind wandering episodes are limited [37,39,[46][47][48][49]. Experimental manipulations are available; for example, boring tasks, alcohol or nicotine withdrawal increase the frequency of mind wandering and decrease task performance [27]. ...
... Our proposal is based on two different lines of research regarding mind wandering and mindfulness, both of which imply a potential link between diversity of mind wandering and creativity, respectively. The first one is related to the unconstrained feature of mind wandering emphasized in the dynamic framework of mind wandering proposed by Christoff and colleagues [65][66][67]. In contrast to the task-centric view of mind wandering, which considers mind wandering as task-unrelated thoughts and thus focuses on the propensity to be off-task, these researchers regarded mind wandering (or daydreaming) as a cognitive state involving an unconstrained or unguided process. ...
... Despite this flurry of progress, scientists have stressed that mind-wandering research requires firmer philosophical foundations (Christoff, 2012;Christoff, Irving, Fox, Spreng, & Andrews-Hanna, 2016;Smallwood, 2013). The time is therefore ripe for the philosophy of mindwandering (Carruthers, 2015;Dorsch, 2014;Irving, 2016Irving, , 2018Irving, , 2019aIrving & Thompson, 2018;Metzinger, 2013Metzinger, , 2015Metzinger, , 2018Regis, 2013;Sripada, 2016aSripada, , 2018Sutton, 2010). Section 2 of our review begins with a foundational question: What is mind-wandering? ...
... Although there are several conceptualisations of MW (Christoff, Mills, Andrews-Hanna, Irving, Thompson et al., 2018;Seli, Carriere, & Smilek, 2014;Seli et al., 2018), it is generally defined as an attentional shift away from the here-and-now (including engagement in ongoing tasks), toward unrelated inner thoughts, feelings, memories, plans or wishes (Seli et al., 2018;Smallwood & Schooler, 2006;Smallwood & Schooler, 2015 2 ). It has been found to be a relatively common human experience, occupying 25-50% of waking life (Kane et al., 2007;Killingsworth & Gilbert, 2010). ...
... This suggests that meditation practice may be universally suitable for preventing arising action tendencies from becoming dominant over alternative responses. However, the distractions that arise during meditation stem from information stored in long-term memory (Andrews-Hanna et al., 2018;Ellamil et al., 2016), rather than from earlier instructions that are actively represented in working memory (Cole et al., 2017). Analogously, in learned automaticity, the overlearned automated response is stored in long-term memory, whereas instructed automaticity relies on the instructions being held in working memory instead. ...
... Like many EMA studies of TUT (e.g., Kane et al., 2017;McVay et al., 2009;Mills et al., 2018) participants in this study also completed an instructions and exercise survey on day 1. The instructions described information regarding the EMA survey in detail, including definitions for terminology and examples to illustrate the meaning of different responses. ...
... Creative thinking is generally defined as the joint action of spontaneous association and executive control (Beaty et al., 2014b;Silvia et al., 2013). Among these, the spontaneous association process is more elusive, but remains extremely important for creative thinking (Andrews-Hanna et al., 2017;Kalina et al., 2016;). An idea is often generated by a combination of memorized concepts and/or new information (Marupaka et al., 2012); when this new combination is considered novel and useful, it is considered creative (Marupaka et al., 2012;Mednick, 1962). ...
... Future studies could leverage noninvasive stimulation techniques to identify the causal contribution of these regions. Second, high-order cognition tends to arise from integrated processing of multiple brain systems ( Bourgeois et al., 2020 ;Dixon Matthew et al., 2018 ;Dixon et al., 2017 ;Spreng et al., 2010 ). Therefore, future work should explore the implication of interactions between largescale brain networks for distractor suppression. ...