Caitlin S. Mills

Office: Psychology, McConnell Hall, Durham, NH 03824
headshot of Caitlin Mills

My research interests are at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and education. I am particularly interested in mind wandering: its neural correlates, relationship to affect, and impact on learning.Other interests include investigating affective states and task-unrelated thought in educational contexts, such as during complex learning and reading.


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Notre Dame
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Notre Dame
  • B.S., Psychology, Christian Brothers University

Research Interests

  • Cognitive psychology
  • Computer Science
  • Educational Psychology
  • Neuroscience

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 741: Adv Top/Science of Daydreaming

Selected Publications

Mills, C., & Christoff, K. (2018). Finding Consistency in Boredom by Appreciating its Instability. Trends in cognitive sciences, 22, 744-747.

Wammes, J. D., Ralph, B. C. W., Mills, C., Bosch, N., Duncan, T. L., & Smilek, D. (2018). Disengagement during lectures: Media multitasking and mind wandering in university classrooms. Computers & Education.

Mills, C., Raffaelli, Q., Irving, Z. C., Stan, D., & Christoff, K. (2018). Is an off-task mind a freely-moving mind? Examining the relationship between different dimensions of thought. Consciousness and cognition, 58, 20-33.

Zedelius, C. M., Mills, C., & Schooler, J. W. (2018). Beyond subjective judgments: Predicting evaluations of creative writing from computational linguistic features. Behavior research methods, 1-16.

Wilson, K. E., Martinez, M., Mills, C., D Mello, S., Smilek, D., & Risko, E. F. (2018). Instructor presence effect: Liking does not always lead to learning. Computers & Education, 122, 205-220.

Fox, K. C. R., Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Mills, C., Dixon, M. L., Markovic, J., Thompson, E., & Christoff, K. (2018). Affective neuroscience of self-generated thought. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Smith, G. K., Mills, C., Paxton, A., & Christoff, K. (2018). Mind-wandering rates fluctuate across the day: evidence from an experience-sampling study. Cognitive research: principles and implications, 3, 54.

Mills, C., Herrera-Bennett, A., Faber, M., & Christoff, K. (2018). Why the mind wanders: How spontaneous thought’s default variability may support episodic efficiency and semantic optimization. The Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought: Mind-Wandering, Creativity, and Dreaming, 11.

Martin, L., Mills, C., D Mello, S. K., & Risko, E. F. (2018). Re-watching lectures as a study strategy and its effect on mind wandering.. Experimental psychology.

Christoff, K., Mills, C., Andrews-Hanna, J. R., Irving, Z. C., Thompson, E., Fox, K. C. R., & Kam, J. W. Y. (2018). Mind-wandering as a scientific concept: cutting through the definitional haze. Trends in cognitive sciences, 22, 957-959.