The current issue of PLOS One includes a recent paper by myself and my co-authors from UCSB which demonstrates that situations under which mind wandering is likely to occur are associated with increases in pupil diameter (see http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0018298). These changes are distinct from the changes that take place when the mind processes external information. This study suggests that pupilometry maybe a useful covert marker for internal focus and provides further evidence that internally maintained thoughts (such as mind wandering or daydreaming) are often associated with a state of increased arousal (such as strong emotion or important personal concerns).
Mind-wandering is a product of spontaneous, internally generated thought
- Distant memories: Why the default mode network is important during states of internal focus
- Monitoring the mind: clues for a link between meta cognition and self generated thought
- Emotional wandering: considering the complex relationship between self-generated thought and happiness
- Not all minds that wander are lost
- The Good, the Bad and the Wandering Mind