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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Culture influences rates of mind wandering Sude, Daniel Jeffrey

Abstract

Mind-wandering – the decoupling of the mind from external stimuli such that it is engaged in a greater degree of self-generated mental activity – requires both a) a focus on internal psychological states and b) a cessation of effortful engagement in the external world. Cultures differ on both dimensions. Members of Asian cultures tend to focus less on internal psychological states than do members of European-heritage cultures. Members of Asian cultures tend to believe that effort is intrinsically rewarding and to value cultivation of one’s capacity for effort. We thus hypothesize that Asian-heritage participants will mind-wander less than European-heritage participants, even during a task where performance is not directly incentivized. In this study, we show that European-heritage UBC students do indeed mind-wander more than either Asian-heritage UBC students or Japanese exchange students when they are participating in an easy and repetitive task.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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