Task unrelated thought: The role of distributed processing

Jonathan Smallwood, Marc Obonsawin, Derek Heim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Task unrelated thought (TUT) refers to thought directed away from the current situation; for example, a day dream. Encapsulated models of cognition propose that qualitative changes in consciousness, i.e., the production of TUT, can be explained in terms of changes in the quantity of resources deployed for task completion. In contrast, distributed models of cognition emphasize the importance of holistic processes in the generation and maintenance of task focus and are consistent with the effects of higher order variables such as schemata. Three experiments were conducted on healthy participants using a categorical stimulus organization to contrast distributed and encapsulated views of cognition. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that despite the increased difficulty of the alphabetical verbal fluency task fewer TUTs were produced during category fluency condition. Experiment 3 replicated the categorical suppression of TUT while encoding and recalling information in a memory task. The results of these three experiments support the predictions derived from models of cognition emphasizing the importance of stimulus organization in the generation and maintenance of task focus and have potential importance for the scientific evaluation of cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-189
Number of pages21
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

Fingerprint

Cognition
Maintenance
Fantasy
Consciousness
Healthy Volunteers

Cite this

Smallwood, Jonathan ; Obonsawin, Marc ; Heim, Derek. / Task unrelated thought : The role of distributed processing. In: Consciousness and Cognition. 2003 ; Vol. 12, No. 2. pp. 169-189.
@article{b19b56fa56dc4b47a94b6b66695b6ab1,
title = "Task unrelated thought: The role of distributed processing",
abstract = "Task unrelated thought (TUT) refers to thought directed away from the current situation; for example, a day dream. Encapsulated models of cognition propose that qualitative changes in consciousness, i.e., the production of TUT, can be explained in terms of changes in the quantity of resources deployed for task completion. In contrast, distributed models of cognition emphasize the importance of holistic processes in the generation and maintenance of task focus and are consistent with the effects of higher order variables such as schemata. Three experiments were conducted on healthy participants using a categorical stimulus organization to contrast distributed and encapsulated views of cognition. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that despite the increased difficulty of the alphabetical verbal fluency task fewer TUTs were produced during category fluency condition. Experiment 3 replicated the categorical suppression of TUT while encoding and recalling information in a memory task. The results of these three experiments support the predictions derived from models of cognition emphasizing the importance of stimulus organization in the generation and maintenance of task focus and have potential importance for the scientific evaluation of cognition.",
author = "Jonathan Smallwood and Marc Obonsawin and Derek Heim",
year = "2003",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/S1053-8100(02)00003-X",
language = "English",
volume = "12",
pages = "169--189",
journal = "Consciousness and Cognition",
issn = "1053-8100",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "2",

}

Task unrelated thought : The role of distributed processing. / Smallwood, Jonathan; Obonsawin, Marc; Heim, Derek.

In: Consciousness and Cognition, Vol. 12, No. 2, 01.01.2003, p. 169-189.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Task unrelated thought

T2 - The role of distributed processing

AU - Smallwood, Jonathan

AU - Obonsawin, Marc

AU - Heim, Derek

PY - 2003/1/1

Y1 - 2003/1/1

N2 - Task unrelated thought (TUT) refers to thought directed away from the current situation; for example, a day dream. Encapsulated models of cognition propose that qualitative changes in consciousness, i.e., the production of TUT, can be explained in terms of changes in the quantity of resources deployed for task completion. In contrast, distributed models of cognition emphasize the importance of holistic processes in the generation and maintenance of task focus and are consistent with the effects of higher order variables such as schemata. Three experiments were conducted on healthy participants using a categorical stimulus organization to contrast distributed and encapsulated views of cognition. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that despite the increased difficulty of the alphabetical verbal fluency task fewer TUTs were produced during category fluency condition. Experiment 3 replicated the categorical suppression of TUT while encoding and recalling information in a memory task. The results of these three experiments support the predictions derived from models of cognition emphasizing the importance of stimulus organization in the generation and maintenance of task focus and have potential importance for the scientific evaluation of cognition.

AB - Task unrelated thought (TUT) refers to thought directed away from the current situation; for example, a day dream. Encapsulated models of cognition propose that qualitative changes in consciousness, i.e., the production of TUT, can be explained in terms of changes in the quantity of resources deployed for task completion. In contrast, distributed models of cognition emphasize the importance of holistic processes in the generation and maintenance of task focus and are consistent with the effects of higher order variables such as schemata. Three experiments were conducted on healthy participants using a categorical stimulus organization to contrast distributed and encapsulated views of cognition. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that despite the increased difficulty of the alphabetical verbal fluency task fewer TUTs were produced during category fluency condition. Experiment 3 replicated the categorical suppression of TUT while encoding and recalling information in a memory task. The results of these three experiments support the predictions derived from models of cognition emphasizing the importance of stimulus organization in the generation and maintenance of task focus and have potential importance for the scientific evaluation of cognition.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0038578366&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0038578366&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S1053-8100(02)00003-X

DO - 10.1016/S1053-8100(02)00003-X

M3 - Article

C2 - 12763003

AN - SCOPUS:0038578366

VL - 12

SP - 169

EP - 189

JO - Consciousness and Cognition

JF - Consciousness and Cognition

SN - 1053-8100

IS - 2

ER -