Paula Lowe, Ph.D. is a 2023 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.
Paula at her Dissertation Defense.
From L-R: Carol Baron, Committee Member, Dr. Claire Zedelius, Committee Member, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Chair.
- Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
- Carol Baron, Ph.D., Committee Member
- Claire Zedelius, Ph.D., Committee Member
mind wandering, off-task thinking, mind wandering intentionality, thought type, thought content, temporality, context demand, emotion, leadership, intrapersonal psychology, neuropsychology, productivity, boundary theory, working parent, nonparent worker, atelicity, kin care, creative thinking, experience sampling, participant level data analysis
Numerous researchers have investigated thinking that drifts away from what the individual was doing, thinking that is known as mind wandering. Their inquiries were often conducted in university lab settings with student participants. To learn about mind wandering in the daily life of working adults, this experience sampling study investigated intentional and unintentional mind wandering episodes as reported by working adults, ages 25–50, living across the United States. In this age frame, work and family responsibilities have increased in complexity and overlap. Using a smartphone app, participants were randomly notified to answer experience sampling surveys six times a day for up to five days. Eight questions concerned frequency, intentionality, and the descriptive characteristics of thought type, thought content, temporality, context, context demand, and emotion. Based upon 7,947 notification responses and 4,294 reported mind wandering episodes, the research findings showed that mind wandering is a common thinking experience in working adult daily life and is differentiated by intentionality, parent status, and gender. Parents reported more frequent mind wandering and intentional mind wandering episodes than nonparents. Episode thought type was most often indicated as practical thought. Episodes were more often reported as having the content related to context although out of context mind wandering episodes were also highly reported. Context demand and emotion at the time of the notification were related to mind wandering episode frequency and were further differentiated by intentionality, parent status, and gender. Working parents reported mind wandering episodes during higher demand, particularly male parents, than nonparents. By generating new knowledge about the thinking life of working adults, this study’s results and methodology contribute to the fields of leadership and change, thought research, intrapersonal and interpersonal psychology, work and family studies, and education. Future studies focused on underlying factors related to the mind wandering of working adults and the differences between parent and nonparent mind wandering may inform our understanding of working adult mind wandering. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, https://aura.antioch.edu/, and OhioLINK ETD Center, https://etd.ohiolink.edu.
Lowe, P. C. (2023). Mind Wandering in Daily Life: A National Experience Sampling Study of Intentional and Unintentional Mind Wandering Episodes Reported by Working Adults Ages 25 – 50. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/915
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