An introduction to the scientific problem of the “mind wandering” phenomenon



The problem of the “wandering mind” phenomenon is considered in an interdisciplinary perspective. We provide evidence that the “wandering mind” is the cause of attention errors when performing cognitive tasks, both in laboratory conditions and in professional and daily activities. We show the role of “wandering mind” in the modeling of personal psychological future. According D. Kahneman’s conceptual views on the thinking nature, the “wandering mind” is a prerequisite of appearance of creative ways to solve ambiguous problems (“creative insight”) in the process of thinking. Based on the B.F. Lomov’s methodological conception, we reveal the need for considering the problem of “wandering mind” along with socio-psychological characteristics of a group (such as, for example, incorporativity), which includes subjects that are in the described condition.

General Information

Keywords: “wandering mind”, attention lapses, decision-making, cognitive processes, social and psychological characteristics, groups incorporativity

Journal rubric: Studia

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Ivanov M.V., Bagrationi K.A. An introduction to the scientific problem of the “mind wandering” phenomenon [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie [Psychological Science and Education], 2014. Vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 284–297. DOI: 10.17759/psyedu.2014060131. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Michael V. Ivanov, PhD in Psychology, Leading Research Associate of the Department of Child Psychiatry, Mental Health Research Center, Head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

K. A. Bagrationi, PhD in Psychology, Senior Lecturer, Department of Project Management, Federal state Autonomous educational institution of higher professional education «national research University "Higher school of Economics”», Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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