Postgraduate Conference on Extremes of Mind Wandering

Traditionally, psychological research has understood mind-wandering as task-unrelated thought (cf. Smallwood & Schooler, 2015). However, this standard conception does not seem to fit with the dynamics of the subjective experience of mind-wandering (Irving and Thompson, 2018). New conceptions on mind wandering range from explaining this phenomenon as thoughts that lack veto control (Metzinger, 2013; 2018) to a sort of disunified thinking (Carruthers, 2015; Dorsch, 2015) or unguided thinking (Irving, 2016; Irving and Thompson, 2018). The investigation of mind-wandering is a relatively young field of study. While this phenomenon has been the target of research of psychological research for many years, it remains rarely investigated in the realm of philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In recent years, several articles and book collections on the topic of mind-wandering have arisen, showing how this phenomenon not only requires more empirical work but also needs further theoretical and conceptual investigation (see Christoff and Fox, 2018).

This conference aims at unifying the research of mind-wandering and spontaneous thought in contemporary philosophy by contemplating not only how we can make better sense of this phenomenon but, also, how investigations on mind-wandering can shed light on other related topics. As such, the conference will focus on three general subtopics:

(1) the nature of consciousness, (2) mind wandering and other imaginative experiences, and (3) mind-wandering in psychopathology.

Given these three main subtopics, we envisage a wide range of contributions, including, but not limited to, the following issues:

• The varieties of mind wandering • The phenomenology of daydreaming • The self in daydreams • Lost in thought: temporality and daydreaming • Mental time travel • Rumination and emotion • Imagination and narrative • 4E perspectives on mind wandering, daydreaming and imagination • Mind wandering and altered states of consciousness • Mind-blanking and meditative states

The ‘Extremes of Mind Wandering’ conference, hosted by the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences in the University of Edinburgh will take place on June 23rd-25th 2021 between 2pm and 6pm (BST) over Zoom.

The conference will consist of three keynote talks by Dr Thomas Andrillon (Paris Brain Institute, France), Prof. Amy Kind (Claremont McKenna College, US) and Dr Zachary Irving (University of Virginia, US) as well as contributions from six postgraduate researchers selected via a blind review of abstracts.


Attendance is free and open to all, but registration is required to receive the link to the zoom call:

Registration closes by midnight (BST) Monday 21st June

Contact Details

This conference is organised by Jodie Russell (University of Edinburgh) and Adriana Alcaraz-Sanchez (University of Glasgow).

For further questions please contact Jodie Russell (