Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Psychology


Mind wandering is a ubiquitous experience, which encompasses many different types of thought. Task-unrelated thought (TUT) is a commonly studied type of mind wandering and refers to thoughts which occur during the completion of an ongoing task, but which are unrelated to that ongoing task. Importantly, these TUTs can be engaged either intentionally or unintentionally and there is a growing body of evidence which documents and supports these types of TUTs as being meaningfully different in terms of their underpinning mechanisms, their phenomenological experience, and their outcomes. It is necessary to continue to study and document their differences, as this may assist in further understanding some of the more ambiguous or conflicting findings from TUT literature. Consequently, this thesis aims to measure and investigate differences between intentional and unintentional TUTs across three areas of interest: task context, cognitive ability, and social functioning. Examination of the variable of intention in these areas may elucidate apparent contradictory observations within them. In addition, this thesis will investigate TUTs both in the laboratory and in daily life, to contribute to an understanding of intentional and unintentional TUTs across a broader scope of situations. In doing so, this thesis supports existing arguments that intention should be explicitly considered in mind wandering theory, in order to better predict and account for the occurrence and consequences of TUTs.

FoR codes (2020)

5204 Cognitive and computational psychology



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.