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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 (2014), 148

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 detailIndividual differences in cognitive representations of action influence the activation of goal concepts
Belayachi, Sanaa ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg

in Acta Psychologica (2013), 142(2), 259-264

Goal representations play a key role in various psychological processes, including behavioral regulation, self-perception and social understanding. Research on cognitive representations of action has ... [more ▼]

Goal representations play a key role in various psychological processes, including behavioral regulation, self-perception and social understanding. Research on cognitive representations of action has identified individual differences in the general tendency to construe actions in terms of their goal (vs. movement parameters), which can be reliably assessed with the Behavior Identification Form (BIF). The aim of the present study was to examine how individual differences in action identification, as measured by the BIF, affect online processing of action in a laboratory study. The main results showed that the level of action identification predicted participants' performance in a task designed to implicitly assess people's automatic processing of action regarding goal features. We discussed the possible role of impaired goal processing in psychological dysfunctions. [less ▲]

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See detailMind-wandering: Phenomenology and function as assessed with a novel experience sampling method
Stawarczyk, David ULg; Majerus, Steve ULg; Maj, Michalina et al

in Acta Psychologica (2011), 136(3), 370-381

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both decoupled from stimuli present in the current environment and unrelated to the task being carried out at the moment of their ... [more ▼]

Mind-wandering refers to the occurrence of thoughts whose content is both decoupled from stimuli present in the current environment and unrelated to the task being carried out at the moment of their occurrence. The core of this phenomenon is therefore stimulus-independent and task-unrelated thoughts (SITUTs). In the present study, we designed a novel experience sampling method which permitted to isolate SITUTs from other kinds of distractions (i.e., irrelevant interoceptive/exteroceptive sensory perceptions and interfering thoughts related to the appraisal of the current task). In Experiment 1, we examined the impact of SITUTs on the performance of the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART; a Go/No-Go task). Analyses demonstrated that SITUTs impair SART performance to the same extent as irrelevant sensory perceptions. In Experiment 2, we further examined SITUTs in order to assess the possible functions of mind-wandering. We observed that the content of most of reported SITUTs refers to the anticipation and planning of future events. Furthermore, this “prospective bias” was increased when participants’ attention had been oriented toward their personal goals before performing the SART. These data support the view that an important function of mind-wandering relates to the anticipation and planning of the future. [less ▲]

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See detailAttention to self-referential stimuli: can I ignore my own face?
Devue, Christel ULg; Brédart, Serge ULg

in Acta Psychologica (2008), 128(2), 290-7

Auto-referential materials (i.e., the own name) have been described as particularly prone to capture attention. Some recent studies have questioned this view and shown that these own name effects are ... [more ▼]

Auto-referential materials (i.e., the own name) have been described as particularly prone to capture attention. Some recent studies have questioned this view and shown that these own name effects are temporary and appear only in specific conditions: when enough resources are available (Harris, C. R., & Pashler, H. (2004). Attention and the processing of emotional words and names: Not so special after all. Psychological Science, 15, 171-178) or when the own name is presented within the focus of attention if it is a task-irrelevant stimulus (Gronau, N., Cohen, A., & Ben-Shakhar, G. (2003). Dissociations of personally significant and task-relevant distractors inside and outside the focus of attention: A combined behavioral and psychophysiological study. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 132, 512-529). In the present study, a stimulus that is unique to each individual was used: the self-face. In Experiment 1, the self-face produced a temporary distraction when presented at fixation during a digit-parity task. However, this distraction was not different from that triggered by another highly familiar face. In Experiment 2, the self-face failed to produce interference when presented outside the focus of attention. These results confirm recent findings showing that auto-referential materials do not automatically summon attention and have a distractive power only in specific conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailControlled processes account for age-related decrease in episodic memory
Vanderaspoilden, Valérie; Adam, Stéphane ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg et al

in Acta Psychologica (2007), 125(1), 20-36

A decrease in controlled processes has been proposed to be responsible for age-related episodic memory decline. We used the Process Dissociation Procedure, a method that attempts to estimate the ... [more ▼]

A decrease in controlled processes has been proposed to be responsible for age-related episodic memory decline. We used the Process Dissociation Procedure, a method that attempts to estimate the contribution of controlled and automatic processes to cognitive performance, and entered both estimates in regression analyses. Results indicate that only controlled processes explained a great part of the age-related variance in a word recall task, especially when little environmental support was offered. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailThe effects of aging on location-based and distance-based processes in memory for time
Bastin, Christine ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg; Michel, Anne-Pascale et al

in Acta Psychologica (2004), 116

Retrieving when an event occurred may depend on an estimation of the age of the event (distance-based processes) or on strategic reconstruction processes based on contextual information associated with ... [more ▼]

Retrieving when an event occurred may depend on an estimation of the age of the event (distance-based processes) or on strategic reconstruction processes based on contextual information associated with the event (location-based processes). Young and older participants performed a list discrimination task that has been designed to dissociate the contribution of both types of processes. An adapted Remember/Know/Guess procedure [Can. J. Exp. Psychol. 50 (1996) 114] was developed to evaluate the processes used by the participants to recognize the stimuli and retrieve their list of occurrence. The results showed that aging disrupts location- based processes more than distance-based processes. In addition, a limitation of speed of processing and working-memory capacities was the main predictor of age-related differences on location-based processes, whereas working-memory capacities mediated partly age differences on distance-based processes. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentity and expression memory for happy and angry faces in social anxiety
D'Argembeau, Arnaud ULg; Van der Linden, Martial ULg; Etienne, Anne-Marie ULg et al

in Acta Psychologica (2003), 114(1), 1-15

We examined the influence of social anxiety on memory for both identity and emotional expressions of unfamiliar faces. Participants high and low in social anxiety were presented with happy and angry faces ... [more ▼]

We examined the influence of social anxiety on memory for both identity and emotional expressions of unfamiliar faces. Participants high and low in social anxiety were presented with happy and angry faces and were later asked to recognise the same faces displaying a neutral expression. They also had to remember what the initial expressions of the faces had been. Remember/know/guess judgements were asked both for identity and expression memory. For participants low in social anxiety, both identity and expression memory were more often associated with "remember" responses when the faces were previously seen with a happy rather than an angry expression. In contrast, the initial expression of the faces did not affect either identity or expression memory for participants high in social anxiety. We interpreted these findings by arguing that most people tend to preferentially elaborate positive rather than negative social stimuli that are important to the self and that this tendency may be reduced in high socially anxious individuals because of the negative meaning they tend to ascribe to positive social information. (C) 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailMoses strikes again: Focalization effect on a semantic illusion
Brédart, Serge ULg; Modolo, K.

in Acta Psychologica (1988), 67(2), 135-144

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