Abstract and Keywords
Mind-wandering and daydreams (i.e., spontaneous thoughts that are both task-unrelated and decoupled from current sensory perceptions) have recently become the object of increased interest in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. To date, however, there have been relatively few attempts at investigating the form and content of these thoughts, and what individuals are exactly thinking about when they daydream or their minds wander from the here and now. This chapter provides a historical overview of the studies that have investigated the phenomenological properties of mind-wandering and daydreams. It reviews the current state of research, examining how specific phenomenological features of these thoughts are related to beneficial and deleterious aspects of cognitive and affective functioning. It concludes by discussing possible avenues for future investigations, such as how the content and context of occurrence of mind-wandering and daydreams might interact to determine their functional outcomes.
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