Picture of athlete cycling

Open Access research with a real impact on health...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Physical Activity for Health Group based within the School of Psychological Sciences & Health. Research here seeks to better understand how and why physical activity improves health, gain a better understanding of the amount, intensity, and type of physical activity needed for health benefits, and evaluate the effect of interventions to promote physical activity.

Explore open research content by Physical Activity for Health...

The effects of block duration and task demands on the experience of task unrelated thought

Obonsawin, Marc and Smallwood, J. and Reid, H. (2003) The effects of block duration and task demands on the experience of task unrelated thought. Imagination, Cognition and Personality Consciousness in Theory - Research - Clinical Practice, 22 (1). pp. 13-31. ISSN 0276-2366

Full text not available in this repository. Request a copy from the Strathclyde author

Abstract

Evidence indicates that the degree to which attention can be maintained upon the task in hand depends upon both the type and duration of the task. Two experiments investigated the relationship between task irrelevant thinking and block duration in two types of task. In Experiment One, a vigilance task was compared to a fluency task and in Experiment Two a verbal encoding task was compared to a fluency task. In both tasks we investigated the hypothesis that block duration mediated changes in thinking would be smallest for tasks which rely heavily on controlled processing (the fluency task). Results were consistent with expectations and indicated that the report of thoughts with no relationship to the task in hand increased with block duration in the vigilance task (Experiment One) and the verbal encoding task (Experiment Two). In neither experiment did block length effect thinking during the fluency task. These results are broadly consistent with the assertion that tasks that cannot be readily automated, maintain attention upon the task at hand in a superior fashion as the duration of the block increases. The implications of these results for our understanding of the process responsible for our conscious awareness of a stimulus and our ability to plan and anticipate events are discussed.