The effect of background sounds on mind wandering

Klodin Alali-Morlevy, Liat Goldfarb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mind wandering (MW) reflects a situation in which the cognitive system is detached from the main task and involved with inner thoughts. It has been well document that music and other background sounds can have positive effects on number of cognitive functioning. In addition, other body of literature suggests that background sounds might have specifically positive effect on individuals with more attention deficiencies. Hence, the current study examines the effect of background sounds on MW. In two experiments, the effect of background sounds: music (Experiment 1) or an alerting tone (Experiment 2) while performing sustained attention tasks was examined among typical development participants with different severity of attention deficiency. Background sounds were found to reduce MW especially in individuals with more ADHD symptoms. This was further discussed in the context of several theories, and it was suggested that background sound might be used as a tool for MW reduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1848-1861
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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