Exploring the Link Between Mind Wandering, Mindfulness, and Creativity: A Multidimensional Approach
Creativity Research Journal
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2018
Pages: 41 - 53
Source ID: shanti-sources-109316
Collection: Mindfulness Studies and Undergraduates
Abstract: Even if mind wandering (MW) and mindfulness have traditionally been intended as separate and antithetical constructs, the roles of these 2 mental states on creative behavior were jointly explored in this article. In particular, MW was analyzed in light of a recent approach suggesting a differentiation between deliberate and spontaneous MW, whereas mindfulness was analyzed by distinguishing its 5 different constitutional dimensions: observing, acting with awareness, describing, nonreactivity, and nonjudging. The influence on creativity of these 2 mental states was analyzed using a sample of 77 undergraduate students both on a performance index (i.e., originality) and on a self-report index (i.e., creative achievement). Results showed that MW and mindfulness dimensions predicted creative behavior both alone and in combination, suggesting a complex interdependence between these 2 mental states within the creative thinking process. In particular, the critical importance of distinguishing between deliberate and spontaneous MW was revealed by a final path analysis, which revealed the opposite effects of these 2 dimensions on originality and creative achievement. That is, deliberate MW positively predicted creative performance, whereas spontaneous MW was negatively associated with such performance. Moreover, the nonreactivity and awareness dimensions of mindfulness, the latter in interaction with deliberate MW, emerged as main predictors of response originality. Finally, the describing facet of mindfulness predicted creative achievement both directly and indirectly through an interaction with deliberate MW. The implications emerging from the adoption of a multi-dimensional approach to the analysis of MW and mindfulness in the study of creativity are discussed herein.