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Text difficulty, topic interest, and mind wandering during reading


Learning and Instruction Volume 61, Number 1, ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The present article deals with the question of how the difficulty of a text affects a reader's tendency to engage in task-unrelated thinking (mind wandering) during reading, and the potential role of topic interest as a mediator of the relation between text difficulty and mind wandering. Two-hundred and sixteen participants read three texts with each text either being easy, moderate, or difficult in terms of readability and cohesion. From time to time during reading, participants were interrupted and required to indicate whether they were voluntarily or involuntarily engaging in mind wandering. After reading each text, they rated their interest in and familiarity with the topic, and subsequently answered a number of comprehension questions. The results revealed that reading difficult texts increased both voluntary and involuntary mind wandering and this increase partially explained the negative relation between text difficulty and comprehension. Furthermore, topic interest fully mediated the effect of text difficulty on both forms of mind wandering.


Soemer, A. & Schiefele, U. (2019). Text difficulty, topic interest, and mind wandering during reading. Learning and Instruction, 61(1), 12-22. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved July 6, 2022 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on March 15, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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