To what extent are three criteria of daydreaming–as thought that is fanciful, stimulus-independent, or undirected–equivalent? How are these properties of thought flow distributed during everyday activity? Students (N = 29) carrying a beeper described properties of their consciousness on a total of 1425 occasions by means of a Thought-Sampling Questionnaire, anxiety and depression measures, and activity report forms. Intrasubject analyses of thought variables identified eight orthogonal factors, including Visual Modality, Auditory Modality, Operantness (directedness), Attentiveness to External Stimulation, Controllability, Strangeness (fancifulness/bizarreness), Past Time Orientation, and Future Time Orientation. Most thought samples contained some interior monologue, largely independent of other variables. Thought properties were uncorrelated with affective variables, frustration of goals, and impulses to drink alcohol. Factors for individual differences differed sharply from the intrasubject results, with a single undifferentiated Vividness factor and controllability no longer a separate factor. The visual modality predominates for most individuals, about a third of thought is on the average predominantly undirected, an uncorrelated third is stimulus-independent, and about a quarter of thoughts contain at least traces of dream-like elements.
Klinger, E., & Cox, W. M. (1987). Dimensions of thought flow in everyday life. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 7(2), 105-128.