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Trends Cogn Sci. 2018 Jun;22(6):479-490. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2018.03.010.

Mind-Wandering as a Natural Kind: A Family-Resemblances View.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Harvard, MA, USA. Electronic address: paulseli@fas.harvard.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, University of York, York, UK.
4
Department of Psychology and Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Harvard, MA, USA.
5
Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
6
Department of Psychology, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA.
7
Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada.

Abstract

As empirical research on mind-wandering accelerates, we draw attention to an emerging trend in how mind-wandering is conceptualized. Previously articulated definitions of mind-wandering differ from each other in important ways, yet they also maintain overlapping characteristics. This conceptual structure suggests that mind-wandering is best considered from a family-resemblances perspective, which entails treating it as a graded, heterogeneous construct and clearly measuring and describing the specific aspect(s) of mind-wandering that researchers are investigating. We believe that adopting this family-resemblances approach will increase conceptual and methodological connections among related phenomena in the mind-wandering family and encourage a more nuanced and precise understanding of the many varieties of mind-wandering.

KEYWORDS:

definition; family resemblances; heterogeneous; mind-wandering; varieties

PMID:
29776466
PMCID:
PMC5962028
DOI:
10.1016/j.tics.2018.03.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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