Disengaging from the external world – a phenomenon referred to as mind-wandering – is a ubiquitous experience that has been shown to be associated with detriments in cognitive performance across a large range of tasks. In the current project, we investigate the impact of task disengagement on spatial episodic memory.

The primary goal of this study is to extend previous work investigating the relationship between mind-wandering during encoding and episodic memory performance by distinguishing between the likelihood to recall information and the precision of the recalled information.

Previous research has shown that episodic memory decays when mind-wandering occurs, however it is unresolved whether this decay reflects reduced likelihood to recall information or reduced precision of the recalled information. Does mind-wandering affect memory in a probabilistic all-or-none manner or does it affect the resolution with which a visual item is recalled? We plan to use the continuous delayed estimation paradigm and to apply a standard mixture model analysis that assumes distinct parameters to estimate the likelihood of recall and the precision of recall. 

Presentation at conference

  • Martarelli, C. S., & Ovalle-Fresa, R. (2021). The impact of disengagement on spatial episodic memory.
    63rd TeaP - Conference of Experimental Psychologists.

Project duration

01.02.2021 - 31.12.2022


Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli
Prof. Dr Corinna Martarelli Associate professor
Dr Rebecca Ovalle
Dr Rebecca Ovalle Post-doc