A combined experimental and individual-differences investigation into mind wandering during a video lecture

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael J. Kane, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: A combined experimental-correlational study with a diverse sample (N = 182) from 2 research sites tested a set of 5 a priori hypotheses about mind wandering and learning, using a realistic video lecture on introductory statistics. Specifically, the study examined whether students’ vulnerability to mind wandering during the lecture would predict learning from, and situational interest in, the video and also whether longhand note-taking would help reduce mind wandering, at least for some students. One half of the participants took notes during the video, and all were subsequently tested on lecture content without notes. Regression and mediation analyses indicated that (a) several individual-differences variables (e.g., pretest score, prior math interest, classroom media multitasking habits) uniquely predicted in-lecture mind wandering frequency; (b) although the note-taking manipulation did not reduce mind wandering at the group level, note-taking still reduced mind wandering for some individuals (i.e., those with lower prior knowledge and those who took notes of high quality and quantity); (c) mind wandering uniquely predicted both learning (posttest) and situational interest outcomes above and beyond all other individual-differences variables; (d) moreover, mind wandering significantly mediated the effects of several individual differences; and, finally, (e) not all types of mind wandering were problematic—in fact, off-task reflections about lecture-related topics positively predicted learning. These results, which were generally robust across the 2 sites, suggest that educationally focused cognitive research may benefit from considering attentional processes during learning as well as cognitive and noncognitive individual differences that affect attention and learning.

Additional Information

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 1649-1674
Language: English
Date: 2017
note-taking, learning, mind wandering, situational interest, media multitasking

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