The Science of Mind-Wandering
Jessica Andrews-Hanna received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2009.
One of the defining characteristics of the human mind is its capacity to wander away from the here-and-now. Whether commuting to work or attempting to work, we often find ourselves simulating past experiences, planning upcoming activities, and reflecting on the lives of other people.
Supporting its frequent occurrence, these “self-generated thoughts” are associated with a wide variety of benefits, enabling us to confront future challenges, solve problems, and navigate our social world. At the same time, the experience can be associated with significant costs, impairing learning and psychological well-being.
Understanding the factors that give rise to this variability could help individuals harness the beneficial aspects of self-generated cognition and, in doing so, lead more productive and happier lives.
In this talk, Jessica Andrews-Hanna will approach this objective by drawing on multi-disciplinary research spanning cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychopathology.
Jessica Andrews-Hanna is currently a Research Associate with the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a world leading expert on the study of mind-wandering.
The lecture is open for all.