References of "Majerus, Steve"
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See detailRelationships between mind-wandering and attentional control abilities in young adults and adolescents
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg et al

in Acta Psychologica (in press)

Recent findings suggest that mind-wandering—the occurrence of thoughts that are both stimulus-independent and task-unrelated—corresponds to temporary failures in attentional control processes involved in ... [more ▼]

Recent findings suggest that mind-wandering—the occurrence of thoughts that are both stimulus-independent and task-unrelated—corresponds to temporary failures in attentional control processes involved in maintaining constant task-focused attention. Studies supporting this proposal are, however, limited by a possible confound between mind-wandering episodes and other kinds of conscious experiences, such as external distractions (i.e., interoceptive sensations and exteroceptive perceptions). In the present study, we addressed this issue by examining, in adolescents and young adults, the relations between tasks measuring attentional control abilities and a measure of mind-wandering that is distinct from external distractions. We observed (1) that adolescents experienced more frequent external distractions, but not more mind-wandering, than young adults during the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) and (2) that, in young adults, the influence of external distractions on SART performance was fully accounted for by attentional control abilities, whereas mind-wandering was associated with decreases in SART performance above and beyond what was explained by attentional control abilities. These results show that mind-wandering cannot be entirely reduced to failures in the ability to maintain one’s attention focused on task, and suggest that external distractions rather than mind-wandering are due to attentional control failures. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of lexical frequency on sentence comprehension in children with specific language impairment
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Jacob, Laura et al

in Research in Developmental Disabilities (2014), 35

Children with SLI generally exhibit poor sentence comprehension skills. We examined the specific impact of grammatical complexity and lexical frequency on comprehension performance, yielding contrasting ... [more ▼]

Children with SLI generally exhibit poor sentence comprehension skills. We examined the specific impact of grammatical complexity and lexical frequency on comprehension performance, yielding contrasting results. The present study sheds new light on sentence comprehension in children with SLI by investigating a linguistic factor which has attracted little research interest: the impact of the lexical frequency of known words on sentence comprehension. We also examined the impact of grammatical complexity and sentence length by independently varying these two factors. Fifteen children with SLI, 15 age- and IQ-matched controls, and 15 controls matched on lexical and grammatical skills, performed sentence comprehension tasks in which three linguistic factors were manipulated: lexical frequency (sentences containing words of either low or high lexical frequency), grammatical complexity (sentence containing either a subject relative clause or an object relative clause) and sentence length (either short or long sentences). Results indicated that children with SLI performed more poorly overall compared to age- and IQmatched children and to lexical and morphosyntactic age-matched children. However, their performance was not more affected by either sentence length or clause type than that of control children. Only lexical frequency affected sentence comprehension to a greater extent in children with SLI relative to the control groups, revealing that SLI children’s sentence comprehension abilities are particularly affected by the presence of lowfrequency but familiar words. [less ▲]

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See detailInteractions with musical long-term memory are a critical component of musical working memory
Gorin, Simon ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

Poster (2013, August 10)

The nature and mechanisms of working memory (WM) for musical information remain poorly understood. The aim of this study is to show that musical WM strongly depends upon long-term memory (LTM) mechanisms ... [more ▼]

The nature and mechanisms of working memory (WM) for musical information remain poorly understood. The aim of this study is to show that musical WM strongly depends upon long-term memory (LTM) mechanisms and requires access to the long-term musical knowledge base. Two groups of participants (musicians and non-musicians) participated first in an implicit learning task during which they heard for about 30 minutes a continuous sequence of tones governed by a new musical grammar. Then, they performed an immediate serial recall task of musical sequences of increasing length; half of the sequences were constructed in accordance to the rules of the new grammar presented during the implicit learning task. Participants have to reproduce the sequences by humming and their performances were calculated on the basis of the deviation between their production and the stimulus needed to be reproduced. The results showed a significant advantage for the lists governed by the grammar previously learned. Overall, this study shows that performance on a musical WM task is enhanced by musical knowledge stored in LTM. This study is the first to demonstrate the dependency of musical WM on musical LTM knowledge, implying that existing models of musical WM need to be extended to account for this WM-LTM interaction. [less ▲]

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See detailInteraction between short-term and long-term memory in the musical domain: the impact of musical knowledge and musical expertise
Gorin, Simon ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

Poster (2013, May 28)

While verbal short-term memory (STM) has received considerable research interest, STM for music has been given considerably less attention. The aim of this study is to show that STM for musical stimuli is ... [more ▼]

While verbal short-term memory (STM) has received considerable research interest, STM for music has been given considerably less attention. The aim of this study is to show that STM for musical stimuli is grounded in LTM, as has been shown for verbal STM. Interactions between LTM and musical STM were studied by exploring the impact of musical knowledge and musical expertise on STM performance. The role of musical knowledge was investigated by an implicit musical learning task, where participants were incidentally exposed to a sequence of tones whose succession was governed by an artificial musical grammar; after exposure, a musical STM task was presented where participants had to reproduce tone sequences of increasing length, half of the sequences being legal (obeying to the artificial musical grammar of the incidental learning task). The role of musical expertise was explored by administering the same task to two participant groups: adults with no musical training and adult musicians. For the role of newly acquired musical knowledge, the non-musician participants showed a significant advantage for reproducing legal musical sequences, showing that they had incidentally learned new musical knowledge and that this knowledge supports STM performance. The musicians did not present an incidental musical learning effect in STM recall, but overall outperformed the non-musicians for reproducing both legal and illegal tone sequences, showing an overall effect of musical expertise. This study is the first to document STM-LTM interactions in the musical domain, and this for both new and existing musical knowledge. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Impact of Dual-Tasking on Sentence Comprehension in Children with Specific Language Impairment
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Prigent, Gaïd ULg et al

in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing research (2013), 56

Purpose: This study assesses the hypothesis of a limitation in attentional allocation capacity as underlying poor sentence comprehension in children with SLI. Method: Fifteen children with SLI, 15 age ... [more ▼]

Purpose: This study assesses the hypothesis of a limitation in attentional allocation capacity as underlying poor sentence comprehension in children with SLI. Method: Fifteen children with SLI, 15 age-matched controls, and 15 grammar-matched controls. Sixty sentences were presented in isolation, and 60 sentences were presented with a concurrent non-linguistic target-detection task. If poor attentional allocation capacity is a core deficit in SLI, they should be impaired to a greater extent in the dual task condition relative to the grammatical-age controls. On the contrary, a comparable performance decrement under the dual-task condition in children with SLI and younger language controls would attest of a limitation in attentional allocation capacity in children with SLI that is not disproportionate to their language level. Results: Sentence comprehension was affected by the dual-task condition to a greater extent in children with SLI relative to age-controls, but not relative to grammatical-controls. Conclusions: Our study does not support limitations in attentional allocation capacity as representing a core deficit in SLI. Rather, our data show that these children show attentional allocation capacity comparable to that of younger children having similar language level, suggesting that SLI is characterized by a slowed development of both attentional and language domains. [less ▲]

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See detailThe impact of aging and hearing status on verbal short-term memory
Verhaegen, Clémence ULg; Collette, Fabienne ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

in Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition (2013)

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of hearing status on age-related decrease in verbal short-term memory (STM) performance. This was done by administering a battery of verbal STM tasks to ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study is to assess the impact of hearing status on age-related decrease in verbal short-term memory (STM) performance. This was done by administering a battery of verbal STM tasks to elderly and young adult participants matched for hearing thresholds, as well as to young normal-hearing control participants. The matching procedure allowed us to assess the importance of hearing loss as an explanatory factor of age-related STM decline. We observed that elderly participants and hearing-matched young participants showed equal levels of performance in all verbal STM tasks, and performed overall lower than the normal hearing young control participants. This study provides evidence for recent theoretical accounts considering reduced hearing level as an important explanatory factor of poor auditory-verbal STM performance in older adults. [less ▲]

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See detailNonword repetition problems in children with specific language impairment: A deficit in accessing long-term linguistic representations?
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg

in Topics in Language Disorders (2013), 33(3), 238-254

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) consistently show poor nonword repetition (NWR) performance. However, the reason for these difficulties remains a matter of intensive debate. Nonword ... [more ▼]

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) consistently show poor nonword repetition (NWR) performance. However, the reason for these difficulties remains a matter of intensive debate. Nonword repetition is a complex psycholinguistic task that heavily relies upon phonological segmentation and phonological knowledge, and even lexical knowledge. This study aims at investigating various linguistic factors that can be at the root of difficulties in children with Specific Language Impairment when repeating nonwords, with the goal of achieving a better understanding of the linguistic processes supporting nonword processing. Linguistic complexity was assessed by manipulating lexicality, syllabic complexity, and perceptual difficulty in NWR tasks. Fifteen children with Specific Language Impairment, 15 typically developing controls matched on both age and performance IQ, and 15 typically developing children matched on lexical knowledge participated in this study. Children with Specific Language Impairment performed overall more poorly than age- and IQ-matched children and lexical age-matched children. Importantly, children with Specific Language Impairment showed lower lexicality and syllabic complexity effects in their NWR performances. These results are compatible with difficulties to retrieve lexical and sublexical phonological knowledge in the context of NWR tasks. Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Importance of Encoding-Related Neural Dynamics in the Prediction of Inter-Individual Differences in Verbal Working Memory Performance
Majerus, Steve ULg; Salmon, Eric ULg; Attout, Lucie ULg

in PLoS ONE (2013), 8(7),

Studies of brain-behaviour interactions in the field of working memory (WM) have associated WM success with activation of a fronto-parietal network during the maintenance stage, and this mainly for visuo ... [more ▼]

Studies of brain-behaviour interactions in the field of working memory (WM) have associated WM success with activation of a fronto-parietal network during the maintenance stage, and this mainly for visuo-spatial WM. Using an inter-individual differences approach, we demonstrate here the equal importance of neural dynamics during the encoding stage, and this in the context of verbal WM tasks which are characterized by encoding phases of long duration and sustained attentional demands. Participants encoded and maintained 5-word lists, half of them containing an unexpected word intended to disturb WM encoding and associated task-related attention processes. We observed that inter-individual differences in WM performance for lists containing disturbing stimuli were related to activation levels in a region previously associated with task-related attentional processing, the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS), and this during stimulus encoding but not maintenance; functional connectivity strength between the left IPS and lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) further predicted WM performance. This study highlights the critical role, during WM encoding, of neural substrates involved in task-related attentional processes for predicting inter-individual differences in verbal WM performance, and, more generally, provides support for attention-based models of WM. © 2013 Majerus et al. [less ▲]

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See detailMemory disorders in children
Majerus, Steve ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg

in Handbook of Clinical Neurology (2013), 111

Memory disorders are a frequent consequence of a variety of childhood neurological conditions. We will review the characteristics of memory disorders as a function of the main four memory systems: short ... [more ▼]

Memory disorders are a frequent consequence of a variety of childhood neurological conditions. We will review the characteristics of memory disorders as a function of the main four memory systems: short-term memory, episodic memory, semantic memory, and procedural memory. For each system, we will identify the most typical cerebral and/or genetic correlates, and we will discuss the impact of impairment of each memory system on everyday life functioning. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. [less ▲]

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See detailLanguage repetition and short-term memory : an integrative framework
Majerus, Steve ULg

in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (2013), 7(357),

Short-term maintenance of verbal information is a core factor of language repetition, especially when reproducing multiple or unfamiliar stimuli. Many models of language processing locate the verbal short ... [more ▼]

Short-term maintenance of verbal information is a core factor of language repetition, especially when reproducing multiple or unfamiliar stimuli. Many models of language processing locate the verbal short-term maintenance function in the left posterior superior temporo-parietal area and its connections with the inferior frontal gyrus. However, research in the field of short-term memory has implicated bilateral fronto-parietal networks, involved in attention and serial order processing, as being critical for the maintenance and reproduction of verbal sequences. We present here an integrative framework aimed at bridging research in the language processing and short-term memory fields. This framework considers verbal short-term maintenance as an emergent function resulting from synchronized and integrated activation in dorsal and ventral language processing networks as well as fronto-parietal attention and serial order processing networks. To-be-maintained item representations are temporarily activated in the dorsal and ventral language processing networks, novel phoneme and word serial order information is proposed to be maintained via a right fronto-parietal serial order processing network, and activation in these different networks is proposed to be coordinated and maintained via a left fronto-parietal attention processing network. This framework provides new perspectives for our understanding of information maintenance at the nonword-, word- and sentence-level as well as of verbal maintenance deficits in case of brain injury. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatial Attention Interacts With Serial-Order Retrieval From Verbal Working Memory
van Dijck, J.-P.; Abrahamse, E. L.; Majerus, Steve ULg et al

in Psychological Science (2013), 24(9), 1854-1859

The ability to maintain the serial order of events is recognized as a major function of working memory. Although general models of working memory postulate a close link between working memory and ... [more ▼]

The ability to maintain the serial order of events is recognized as a major function of working memory. Although general models of working memory postulate a close link between working memory and attention, such a link has so far not been proposed specifically for serial-order working memory. The present study provided the first empirical demonstration of a direct link between serial order in verbal working memory and spatial selective attention. We show that the retrieval of later items of a sequence stored in working memory-compared with that of earlier items-produces covert attentional shifts toward the right. This observation suggests the conceptually surprising notion that serial-order working memory, even for nonspatially defined verbal items, draws on spatial attention. © The Author(s) 2013. [less ▲]

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See detailShort-term memory for serial order supports vocabulary development: New evidence from a novel word learning paradigm
Majerus, Steve ULg; Boukebza, C.

in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (2013), 116(4), 811-828

Although recent studies suggest a strong association between short-term memory (STM) for serial order and lexical development, the precise mechanisms linking the two domains remain to be determined. This ... [more ▼]

Although recent studies suggest a strong association between short-term memory (STM) for serial order and lexical development, the precise mechanisms linking the two domains remain to be determined. This study explored the nature of these mechanisms via a microanalysis of performance on serial order STM and novel word learning tasks. In the experiment, 6- and 7-year-old children were administered tasks maximizing STM for either item or serial order information as well as paired-associate learning tasks involving the learning of novel words, visual symbols, or familiar word pair associations. Learning abilities for novel words were specifically predicted by serial order STM abilities. A measure estimating the precision of serial order coding predicted the rate of correct repetitions and the rate of phoneme migration errors during the novel word learning process. In line with recent theoretical accounts, these results suggest that serial order STM supports vocabulary development via ordered and detailed reactivation of the novel phonological sequences that characterize new words. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired short-term memory for order in adults with dyslexia
Martinez Perez, Trecy ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg

in Research in Developmental Disabilities (2013), 34

Verbal short-term memory (STM) deficits are consistently associated with dyslexia, but the nature of these deficits remains poorly understood. This study used the distinction between item and order ... [more ▼]

Verbal short-term memory (STM) deficits are consistently associated with dyslexia, but the nature of these deficits remains poorly understood. This study used the distinction between item and order retention processes to achieve a better understanding of STM deficits in adults with dyslexia. STM for item information has been shown to depend on the quality of underlying phonological representations, and hence should be impaired in dyslexia, which is characterized by poorly developed phonological representations. On the other hand, STM for order information is considered to reflect core STM processes, which are independent from language processing. Thirty adults with dyslexia and thirty control participants matched for age, education, vocabulary, and IQ were presented STM tasks, which distinguished item and order STM capacities. We observed not only impaired order STM in adults with dyslexia, but this impairment was independent of item STM impairment. This study shows that adults with dyslexia present a deficit in core verbal STM processes, a deficit which cannot be accounted for by the language processing difficulties that characterize dyslexia. Moreover, these results support recent theoretical accounts considering independent order STM and item STM processes, with a potentially causal involvement of order STM processes in reading acquisition. [less ▲]

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See detailPROFINTEG: A TOOL FOR REAL-LIFE ASSESSMENT OF ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING IN PATIENTS WITH COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT
Anselme, Patrick ULg; Poncelet, Martine ULg; Bouwens, Sharon et al

in Psychologica Belgica (2013), 53(1), 3-22

Although there are many instruments for assessing activities of daily living (IADL) in brain injured patients, few instruments specifically target cognitive impairment and its impact on IADL. The present ... [more ▼]

Although there are many instruments for assessing activities of daily living (IADL) in brain injured patients, few instruments specifically target cognitive impairment and its impact on IADL. The present study presents the development of the Profinteg instrument, a tool for real-life assessment as well as rehabilitation of IADL in patients with cognitive impairment. This two-stage instrument covers over 90 activities. Psychometric properties of the different Profinteg measures were explored in twenty-five patients with mild to severe cognitive difficulties and twenty-five caregivers. The feasibility of the Profinteg rehabilitation procedure was explored in three patients. Excellent interrater reliability (r > 0.90, p < 0.01) was observed for all measures. Good sensitivity to changes in IADL disability over time was also observed (T = 2.37, p < 0.02). Significant improvement of IADL functioning was found after rehabilitation guided by Profinteg assessment. The Profinteg instrument detects with precision the difficulties patients encounter in their real-life setting via (1) assessment of a large number of activities and (2) detailed decomposition of activities into sub-activities. The Profinteg tool also provides promising results for guidance of IADL rehabilitation in the patient’s real-life environment. [less ▲]

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See detailConcern-induced negative affect is associated with the occurrence and content of mind-wandering
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULg

in Consciousness & Cognition (2013), 22(2), 442-448

Previous research has shown that the content and frequency of mind-wandering episodes—the occurrence of thoughts that are both stimulus-independent and task-unrelated—are closely related to an ... [more ▼]

Previous research has shown that the content and frequency of mind-wandering episodes—the occurrence of thoughts that are both stimulus-independent and task-unrelated—are closely related to an individual’s future-related concerns. Whether this relationship is shaped by the affective changes that are usually associated with future-related concerns still remains unclear, however. In this study, we induced the anticipation of a negatively valenced event and examined whether the ensuing affective changes were related to the occurrence and content of mind-wandering during an unrelated attentional task. We found that the increase in negative affect following concern induction predicted the general frequency of mind-wandering episodes. Furthermore, mind-wandering episodes specifically directed at the induced concern were related to a lower decrease in negative affect during the attentional task. These results suggest that the negative emotional impact of future-related concerns is an important factor to be taken into consideration for the subsequent occurrence of mind-wandering episodes, which might in turn be involved in the maintenance of negative affect over time. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Impact of Complexity on Sentence Comprehension in Children with Specific Language Impairment
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Jacob, Laura et al

Poster (2012, June)

In recent years, there has been growing evidence that children with specific language impairment (SLI) show poor sentence comprehension performance. However, factors determining sentence comprehension in ... [more ▼]

In recent years, there has been growing evidence that children with specific language impairment (SLI) show poor sentence comprehension performance. However, factors determining sentence comprehension in SLI remain unclear. Limited processing capacities have been suggested as a potential cause of their syntactic problem (Ellis Weismer & Hesketh, 1996; Montgomery, 2000), but this hypothesis has not been directly addressed by manipulating inner sentence complexity. This study aims at investigating the limited capacity theory of language impairment in a sentence comprehension task, by manipulating various aspects of inner sentence complexity, as defined by the Capacity Constrained Comprehension theory (Just & Carpenter, 1992). Fifteen children with SLI, 15 age-and-IQ-matched controls, and 15 controls matched for receptive lexical and grammatical abilities performed an auditory sentence comprehension task in which lexical frequency, sentence length, and the type of relative clause (subject- or object-relativized clauses) were manipulated. Results showed a main effect of group (F(2,42)=25.40, p<.001): children with SLI performed worse than language-matched and age-matched control groups. Main effects of relative clause type (F(1,42)=198.37, p<.001) and sentence length (F(1,42)=46.29, p<.001) were also found, showing overall better performances for sentences with a subject rather than an object relative clause and for short rather than long sentences. However, the SLI group was affected to the same extent by these variables as the control groups. At the same time, a significant group-by-frequency interaction effect was found (F(2,42)=4.03, p<.05), revealing that only the SLI group showed poorer sentence comprehension performance for sentences containing low frequency words. These data confirm the severity and specificity of sentence comprehension difficulties in children with SLI (e.g., van der Lely 2005). Given that our SLI group showed impaired sentence comprehension performance relative to younger children performing at the same level on a standardized test of grammatical comprehension, it appears that processing full reversible relative clauses is especially difficult for children with specific language impairment. Moreover, SLI children’s sentence comprehension abilities are particularly affected by the presence of low frequency but familiar words, even when compared to children matched on vocabulary knowledge. [less ▲]

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See detailVerbal short-term memory deficits in children with specific language impairment: impact of linguistic complexity and attentional control
Leclercq, Anne-Lise ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg; Genet, Océane ULg et al

Conference (2012, May 11)

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) constantly show poor performance in verbal short term memory (STM) tasks. However, the precise mechanism at the root of this problem is still unclear ... [more ▼]

Children with specific language impairment (SLI) constantly show poor performance in verbal short term memory (STM) tasks. However, the precise mechanism at the root of this problem is still unclear. Verbal STM tasks, such as nonword repetition, are complex tasks recruiting linguistic and non linguistic abilities. Recent studies emphasize the role played by attentional capacities in verbal STM performances (e.g., Majerus, Bastin, et al., 2007; Majerus, Heiligenstein, et al., 2009; Majerus, Poncelet, et al., 2006). Moreover, a number of studies have demonstrated an impact of linguistic knowledge on verbal STM (e.g., Majerus & van der Linden, 2003). In the light of these developments, two studies re-explored the nature of verbal STM deficits in children with SLI by assessing the impact of attentional capacity and linguistic complexity. The first study assessed the impact of attentional capacities on STM via a nonverbal dual-tasking paradigm in children with SLI, in children matched on age, and in children matched on STM span. The second study assessed the impact of lexical, perceptual and phonological variables on STM performance in children with SLI, in children matched on age, and in children matched on vocabulary knowledge. We will show that neither the attentional nor the linguistic complexity accounts can satisfactorily explain the verbal STM deficits observed in children with SLI. [less ▲]

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See detailMind-wandering and attentional control: two sides of the same coin or independent processes?
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULg

Conference (2012, May 11)

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both unrelated to the task that we are currently carrying out and decoupled from current sensory perceptions (e.g., having our mind ... [more ▼]

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both unrelated to the task that we are currently carrying out and decoupled from current sensory perceptions (e.g., having our mind distracted by past memories or future concerns when reading a novel). Recent frameworks suggest that the occurrence of mind-wandering reflects temporary breakdowns in attentional control processes. Other proposals however consider that mind-wandering is a cognitive process of its own, independent of attentional control. Based on the dual mechanisms of control framework (Braver et al., 2007), we examined whether proactive and reactive attentional control processes (measured with the A-X Continuous Performance Test), as well as working memory capacity (WMC), are related to the occurrence of mind-wandering during the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART). Results showed that WMC was positively related to proactive but not reactive control, while the frequency of mind-wandering was unrelated to these three measures of attentional control. Additionally, we found that proactive control, reactive control, WMC, and mind-wandering contributed significantly and independently to the prediction of commission errors during the SART. These results suggest that mind-wandering is not the mere reflection of attentional control abilities and that these two factors have separate influences on task performance. [less ▲]

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