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Stimulus-independent thought depends on central executive resources.
Teasdale, J.D., Dritschel, B.H., Taylor, M.J., Proctor, L., Lloyd, C.A., Nimmo-Smith, I. & Baddeley, A.D.
Memory and Cognition, 23, 551-559
Year of publication:
Stimulus-independent thoughts (SITs) are streams of thoughts and images unrelated to immediate sensory input. Four experiments examined the contribution of aspects of working memory to production of SITs. In Experiments 1 and 2, interventions targeted on, respectively, phonological and visuo-spatial components of working memory both interfered with production of SITs, but there was evidence that these tasks also made demands on central executive resources. Experiments 3 and 4 specifically examined the hypothesis that production of SITs and control of non-proceduralised tasks both depend on central executive resources, and so should show mutual interference. In Experiment 3, prior practice on pursuit rotor and memory tasks reduced the interference with SITs from concurrent task performance. In Experiment 4, randomness within a random number generation task was less when SITs were being produced concurrently than when they were not. Results suggest that production of SITs depends on central executive resources.