Previous research suggests that patterns of ongoing thought are heterogeneous, varying across situations and individuals. The current study investigated the influence of multiple tasks and affective style on ongoing patterns of thought. We used 9 different tasks and measured ongoing thought using multidimensional experience sampling. A Principal Component Analysis of the experience sampling data revealed four patterns of ongoing thought: episodic social cognition, unpleasant intrusive, concentration and self focus. Linear Mixed Modelling was used to conduct a series of exploratory analyses aimed at examining contextual distributions of these thought patterns. We found that different task contexts reliably evoke different thought patterns. Moreover, intrusive and negative thought pattern expression were influenced by individual affective style (depression level). The data establish the influence of task context and intrinsic features on ongoing thought, highlighting the importance of documenting how thought patterns emerge in cognitive tasks with different requirements.
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