Consciousness & Mental Time Travel

One of the most important features of the mind’s tendency to wander is that it allows attention to become disengaged from the current external environment and so allows consciousness to focus on matters unrelated to the here and now.  This process of attentional decoupling allows individuals to engage in what is known as mental time travel where conscious thought become focused on events that have already happened or may yet come to pass.  Studies indicate that most often mind-wandering is concerned with events in the future.

Articles:

Task unrelated thought: The role of distributed processing

When is your head at?

The lights are on but no one’s home: Meta-awareness and the decoupling of attention when the mind wanders

Self-reflection and the temporal focus of the wandering mind