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Michael, G. A., Tapiero, I., Gálvez-García, G., & Jacquot, L. (2017).

Thoughts and sensations, twin galaxies of the inner space: The propensity to mind-wander relates to spontaneous sensations arising on the hands.

Sensations and thoughts have been described as potentially related to self-awareness. We therefore asked whether sensations that arise in the absence of external triggers, i.e., spontaneous sensations (SPS), which were shown to relate to interoception and perception of the self, vary as a function of the individual propensity to generate spontaneous thoughts, i.e., mind-wandering. The Mind Wandering Questionnaire (MWQ) was used as a specific tool to assess the frequency and propensity to mind-wander several weeks before completing an SPS task. Correlational analyses between the MWQ score and SPS showed that greater propensity to mind-wander coincided with widespread perception of SPS, while lesser propensity to mind-wander coincided with more spatially restricted perception of SPS. The results are interpreted in light of the role of spontaneous thoughts and sensations in self-awareness. The potential psychological processes and the way they might regulate the relation between mind-wandering and the perception of SPS are discussed.

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