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Title: Attention, mindwandering and mood : relating personal experiences in daily life and in the classroom to laboratory measures
Author: Hobbiss, Michael H.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 5131
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines whether laboratory measures of attention focus in the face of taskirrelevant distraction can predict or reduce real-world experiences of distraction henceforth 'attention lapses' (covering both external, and internal sources such as mindwandering), with a specific consideration of educational environments, the adolescence period, and relationships to mood. To establish a novel measure of attention focus in a variety of realworld environments, I conducted real-time sampling of distractibility, mindwandering and mood across a wide range of everyday environments and activities, e.g. reading in the park (Chapter 2). The results established a replicable single construct underlying everyday attention lapses, and also highlighted a negative correlation between attention lapses and mood, with greater levels of mindwandering and distraction from some external sources associated with reduced levels of mood. To assess whether daily-life attention lapses can be predicted from a laboratory attention-task measure, Chapters 3-4 employed a modified attention distractibility task and examined its relationship to distractibility reports in the realworld, specifically educational settings (at secondary school and university) in both adults and adolescents (aged 13-18). The results established that attention lapses in these settings can be predicted from distractor interference effects on task performance (across adults and adolescents) and that while distractibility levels did not differ between adolescents and adults, response variability was significantly higher in adolescence. In addition, perceptual load reduced distractibility in adults but not in adolescents. Chapter 5 subsequently examined whether an interpolated testing intervention was effective in reducing both mindwandering and external distraction during a university lesson. The results demonstrated that interpolated testing reduced mindwandering and increased recall but did not affect distractibility. This thesis thus extends our understanding of the relationship between mindwandering, external 3 distraction and mood in everyday settings, and of methods which might be used both to predict and mitigate such experiences.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available