Mind Wandering — Importance and Measurement

Saief Sayed
1 min readApr 12, 2021

Mind wandering is the recurrent occurrence in which our mind gets disengaged from the immediate tasks and focus on internal train of thoughts. It can have both good as well as detrimental effects. Hence it is crucial to measure mind wandering.

This interesting phenomenon which is a part of our daily lives, can be effectively measured through various methods. Study has shown some popular methods like EEG signal and variations in the oculomotor nerve, can be used to measure mind wandering. One study shows that mind wandering covers 30–50% of the waking time which is known to originate from the transition between externally guided and self-generated thoughts.

While mind wandering is a common phenomenon, it relates to various psychological problems too. Researchers like Kam et al. have used event related potentials(ERP’s) to examine whether cortical hyper sensitives in migraines extend to mind wandering. Literature shows there’s still chances of further improvement in this field to detect mind-wandering in real-time using any existing methods.