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Conscious Cogn. 2011 Dec;20(4):1882-6. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.09.010. Epub 2011 Oct 2.

The eyes know what you are thinking: eye movements as an objective measure of mind wandering.

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Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Scarborough, Canada.


Paralleling the recent work by Reichle, Reineberg, and Schooler (2010), we explore the use of eye movements as an objective measure of mind wandering while participants performed a reading task. Participants were placed in a self-classified probe-caught mind wandering paradigm while their eye movements were recorded. They were randomly probed every 2-3 min and were required to indicate whether their mind had been wandering. The results show that eye movements were generally less complex when participants reported mind wandering episodes, with both duration and frequency of within-word regressions, for example, becoming significantly reduced. This is consistent with the theoretical claim that the cognitive processes that normally influence eye movements to enhance semantic processing during reading exert less control during mind wandering episodes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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