NIAS Public Lecture: "Comparing different kinds of mind-wandering using computational modeling" by Marieke van Vugt

NIAS Consciousness Studies Programme

Bengaluru 560 012


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Comparing different kinds of mind-wandering using computational modeling




Marieke van Vugt

Assistant Professor, Cognitive Modelling Group

University of Groningen



Thursday, 7th July, 2016 at 4.00 PM
(Coffee/Tea : 3.30 pm)

Venue: Lecture Hall, NIAS, IISc Campus, Bengaluru 560012


Chairperson: V V Binoy, Consciousness Studies Programme, NIAS


Abstract: While distraction is commonplace in modern-day society, and neuroscientific research into mind-wandering is expanding, there are few formal computational models of this process. My computational model of this process can describe both objective behavioral and subjective introspective data from two different mind-wandering experiments. The model is based on the idea that there is a continuous competition between a task goal and a distraction ``goal'', which reflect other goals and experiment participant may have. As the task goal decays over time, the distraction goal can take over, and when that happens, a mind-wandering process is put into action. The characteristics of this mind-wandering process determine what the effects are on performance of the main task. This model can accurately predict performance on a mind-wandering task, including introspective judgments. With an explicit process model of mind-wandering, it becomes possible to examine how processes like rumination differ from more casual mind-wandering, for which I will also show some experimental data.

About the Speaker: Marieke van Vugt is an assistant professor at the University of Groningen. She obtained her PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania and did postdoctoral research at Princeton University before joining the faculty at the University of Groningen. Her highly integrative work uses neuroscience, computational modeling and experimental psychology to study decision making, mind-wandering and meditation.


For more info write to: NIAS Consciousness Programme <>

Thursday, July 7, 2016