Does the type of mind wandering matter? Extending the inquiry about the role of mind wandering in the IT use experience

Michael Klesel, Frederike Marie Oschinsky*, Colin Conrad, Bjoern Niehaves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This study sought to distinguish characteristics of cognitive processes while using information technology. In particular, it identifies similarities and differences between mind wandering and cognitive absorption in technology-related settings in an effort to develop a deeper understanding of the role that mind wandering plays when using information technology. Design/methodology/approach: Data was gathered using an online survey including responses from 619 English-speaking adults in 2019. We applied a confirmatory factor analysis and used a robust variant of maximum likelihood estimator with robust standard errors and a Satorra–Bentler scaled test statistic. The data analysis procedure was conducted with the R environment using the psych package for descriptive analysis, and lavaan to investigate the factorial structure and the underlying correlations. Findings: We discuss the benefits of carefully differentiating between cognitive processes in Information Systems research and depict avenues how future research can address current shortcomings with a careful investigation of neurophysiological antecedents. Originality/value: To date, mind wandering has been explored as a single phenomenon, though research in reference disciplines has begun to distinguish varieties and how they distinctly impact behavior. We demonstrate that this distinction is also important for our discipline by showing how two specific types of mind wandering (i.e. deliberate and spontaneous mind wandering) are differently correlated with sub-dimensions of cognitive absorption, a well-studied construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1039
Number of pages22
JournalInternet research
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2021


  • Cognition
  • Cognitive absorption
  • Default mode network
  • Enjoyment
  • Mind wandering
  • Temporal dissociation


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