Japanese study reveals link between curiosity, anxiety and the wandering mind

Japanese study reveals link between curiosity, anxiety and the wandering mindJapanese study reveals link between curiosity, anxiety and the wandering mind
via yohoprashant
A Japanese scientist is shedding light on the complex interplay between curiosity, anxiety and mind-wandering.
About the study: Research published by Takahiro Sekiguchi of Tokyo Gakugei University in April delved into epistemic curiosity, which encompasses diversive curiosity (interest in a broad spectrum of subjects) and specific curiosity (more concentrated interest in particular areas).
The paper, titled “Curiosity Makes Your Mind Wander: Effects of Epistemic Curiosity and Trait Anxiety on Mind Wandering,” involved two separate studies conducted by Sekiguchi on the influence of curiosity and anxiety on mind-wandering. The findings show that curious individuals are more prone to intentional and unintentional mind-wandering, while those with higher anxiety levels show poorer executive control, indirectly leading to increased mind-wandering.
Understanding mind wandering: Mind-wandering, also known as daydreaming, is a common cognitive phenomenon where a person’s attention shifts from the immediate task to unrelated thoughts, memories or fantasies. While it’s a normal part of human cognition, excessive mind-wandering can impact productivity. Previous research has linked mind-wandering to anxiety, depression and creative thinking, as well as the executive control capacities of an individual.
First study methodology and findings: In the first study, 260 psychology student participants completed assessments on epistemic curiosity, mind-wandering tendency, trait anxiety and executive control. The findings showed that anxiety was linked to increased mind-wandering and weakened executive control, indirectly influencing mind-wandering. The study also developed a statistical model supporting the mediating role of executive control in the anxiety-mind-wandering connection.
Second study methodology and findings: The second study, conducted online with 328 native Japanese speakers, revealed a faint link between diversive curiosity and unintentional mind-wandering. Individuals with a broad range of interests were marginally more prone to mind-wandering. The statistical model suggested that diversive curiosity might increase both intentional and unintentional mind-wandering. Anxiety, once again, impaired executive control, increasing the propensity for unintentional mind-wandering.
Implications and limitations: Sekiguchi’s research provides valuable insights, highlighting that trait anxiety is indirectly linked to mind-wandering through executive control, while epistemic curiosity has a direct influence. The paper notes, however, that the scientist’s model doesn’t allow for cause-and-effect conclusions, and the link between diversive curiosity and unintentional mind-wandering is weak. 
Share this Article
Your leading
Asian American
news source
© 2024 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.