ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (2): 196-202.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00196

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Mind wandering while reading: Theoretical assumptions and factors

WU Guolai; GAO Yuan; ZHOU Man   

  1. (Academy of Psychology and Behavior in Tianjin Normal University, Key Research Base of
    Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Tianjin 300074, China)
  • Received:2015-03-25 Online:2016-02-15 Published:2016-02-15
  • Contact: WU Guolai, E-mail:


"Mind-wandering" tends to occur in reading and other activities where vigilance may be low. It refers to the experience of thoughts not remaining on a single topic or task in which people were asked to engaged. However, since it is difficult to induce and control "Mind-wandering" under laboratory conditions, this issue was laid aside for quite a long time until 1990s. The present review focused on theoretical hypotheses and influencing factors of "Mind-wandering" in reading. Firstly, three main hypotheses of mind wandering in reading were summarized respectively: executive-control theory, control-failure hypothesis and attentional decoupling hypothesis. Secondly, main influencing factors of "Mind-wandering" in reading were also considered. These factors were divided into three categories: reading mode variables, reading material variables, and subject variables. To reveal the mechanisms of "Mind-wandering" further, more work on reducing the limitations of methodology still need to be done in the future.

Key words: mind wandering, reading, control-failure, attentional decoupling, meta-awareness