Ongoing cognition supports behavioral flexibility by facilitating behavior in the moment, and through the consideration of future actions. These different modes of cognition are hypothesized to vary with the correlation between brain activity and external input, since evoked responses are reduced when cognition switches to topics unrelated to the current task. This study examined whether these reduced evoked responses change as a conse-quence of the task environment in which the experience emerges. We combined electro-encephalography (EEG) recording with multidimensional experience sampling (MDES) to assess the electrophysiological correlates of ongoing thought in task contexts which vary on their need to maintain continuous representations of task information for satisfactory performance. We focused on an event-related potential (ERP) known as the parietal P3 that had a greater amplitude in our tasks relying on greater external attention. A principal component analysis (PCA) of the MDES data revealed four patterns of ongoing thought: off-task episodic social cognition, deliberate on-task thought, imagery, and emotion. Partici-pants reported more off-task episodic social cognition and mental imagery under low external demands and more deliberate on-task thought under high external task demands. Importantly, the occurrence of off-task episodic social cognition was linked to similar re-ductions in the amplitude of the P3 regardless of external task. These data suggest the amplitude of the P3 may often be a general feature of external task-related content and suggest attentional decoupling from sensory inputs are necessary for certain types of perceptually-decoupled, self-generated thoughts.
|Status||Publicerad - feb. 2023|
- 515 Psykologi
- 3112 Neurovetenskaper