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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 3/2019

01-11-2017 | Original Article

On the relation between reading difficulty and mind-wandering: a section-length account

Auteurs: Noah D. Forrin, Evan F. Risko, Daniel Smilek

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 3/2019

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Abstract

In many situations, increasing task difficulty decreases thoughts that are unrelated to the task (i.e., mind-wandering). In the context of reading, however, recent research demonstrated that increasing passage reading difficulty actually increases mind-wandering rates (e.g., Feng et al. in Psychon Bull Rev 20:586–592, 2013). The primary goal of this research was to elucidate the mechanism that drives this positive relation. Across Experiments 1–3, we found evidence that the effect of Flesch–Kincaid reading difficulty on mind-wandering is partially driven by hard passages having longer sections of text (i.e., more words per screen) than easy passages when passages are presented one sentence at a time. In Experiment 4, we controlled for reading difficulty, and found that section length was positively associated with mind-wandering rates. We conclude by proposing that individuals may tend to disengage their attention from passages with relatively long sections of text because they appear to be more demanding than passages with shorter sections (even though objective task demands are equivalent).
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Voetnoten
1
Including participants who completed fewer than six passages did not affect the significance of any results (here, or in subsequent experiments).
 
2
Raftery’s labeling system for various levels of pBIC is as follows: “weak” (.50–.75), “positive” (.75–.95), “strong” (.95–.99), “very strong” (> .99).
 
3
Twenty-six participants had 14 easy and 16 hard thought probes, nineteen participants had 15 easy and 15 hard thought probes, fifty-six participants had 15 easy and 16 hard thought probes, thirty-two participants had 16 easy and 15 hard thought probes, and twenty-two participants had 16 easy and 16 hard thought probes. In total, then, forty-one participants had an equal number of thought probes for easy and hard passages (i.e., either 15-15 or 16-16).
 
4
In the sentence presentation condition, participants could “outpace” a thought probe’s timed appearance if they read the passages very rapidly. This was an uncommon occurrence: participants missed, on average, 1.5% of thought probes.
 
5
On average, participants missed 2.8% of thought probes due to rapid reading.
 
6
On average, participants missed 2.8% of thought probes due to rapid reading.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
On the relation between reading difficulty and mind-wandering: a section-length account
Auteurs
Noah D. Forrin
Evan F. Risko
Daniel Smilek
Publicatiedatum
01-11-2017
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 3/2019
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0936-9