Date of Award

Winter 2023

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Michelle Leichtman

Second Advisor

Caitlin Mills

Third Advisor

Laura Allen


The current set of studies examined whether two common appraisals that students make during learning (whether they have control over their learning and whether they place value into learning the material) give rise to common types of thoughts students also experience (mind wandering, personal connections, and freely-moving thought). Study One naturistically examined students’ appraisals and thoughts while learning in a real classroom. Study Two attempted to experimentally manipulate students’ appraisals and thus their thoughts in an online learning environment. Overall, results suggest that appraisals do seem to influence the thoughts students report experiencing, although results differ between online and classroom learning environments.