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Psychol Sci. 2019 May;30(5):789-797. doi: 10.1177/0956797619837942. Epub 2019 Mar 22.

Is There a Positive Association Between Working Memory Capacity and Mind Wandering in a Low-Demand Breathing Task? A Preregistered Replication of a Study by Levinson, Smallwood, and Davidson (2012).

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Department of Psychology, Western Carolina University.


Levinson, Smallwood, and Davidson (2012, Experiment 2) found that working memory capacity (WMC) correlated positively with mind-wandering rates measured by thought probes in a breath-awareness task but was unassociated with the tendency to self-catch mind wandering. Here, I sought to replicate the associations between mind wandering and WMC in Levinson et al.'s breath-awareness task. The data from the current study, collected from 315 subjects ( ns differed among analyses) and two measures of WMC, suggest that if WMC correlates with probe-caught mind wandering, the association is most likely negative. In addition, the evidence regarding self-caught mind wandering is consistent with that found by Levinson et al. for the sum of self-caught responses, but when self-caught responses were considered in proportion to probe-caught mind wandering, modest evidence was found for a positive association with WMC.


cognitive control; individual differences; mind wandering; open data; preregistered; replication; working memory capacity


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