Previous research suggests that patterns of ongoing thought are heterogeneous, varying across situations and individuals. The current study investigated the influence of a wide range of tasks and individual affective style on ongoing patterns of thought. In total, we used 9 different tasks and measured ongoing thought using multidimensional experience sampling. A Principle Component Analysis of the experience sampling data revealed four patterns of ongoing thought. Linear Mixed Modelling was used to examine the contextual distribution of the thought patterns. Different thought patterns were found to relate to different types of conditions. Intrusive and negative thought pattern expression was found to be influenced by individual affective style (depression level). Overall, these data show that patterns of thought are subject to both contextual and intrinsic variation, suggesting that understanding these important features of experience across a broad range of situations will be useful in understanding their role in human experience.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience