College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Caitlin Mills

  • Pronouns: she, her, hers

  • Assistant professor

  • Educational Psychology
    159 Education Sciences Bldg.
    56 East River Road
    Minneapolis, MN 55455-0364

Caitlin Mills

Areas of interest

  • Mind wandering
  • Boredom, creativity
  • Eye-tracking
  • Learning analytics
  • Adaptive learning

I am currently accepting doctoral students in the psychological foundations of education program. Students with research interests that align with mine are encouraged to apply, including students whose research interests fit broadly under the umbrella of mind wandering, engagement, and boredom.


BA, Christian Brothers University
MA, University of Notre Dame
PhD, University of Notre Dame


I joined the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota in 2022, after spending four years in the Psychology Department at the University of New Hampshire. I received my PhD from the University of Notre Dame, then completed my postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia with Dr. Kalina Christoff.

Personal website


Wong. A., Smith, S., McGrath, C., Flynn, L, Mills, C. (in press). In class but off-task: A meta-analysis on task-unrelated thought during learning activities. Submitted to Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Kuvar, V., Blanchard, N., Colby, A., Allen, L., Mills, C. (in press). Automatically detecting task unrelated thoughts during conversations using keystroke analysis. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction.

Irving, Z., McGrath, C., Glaser, A., Flynn, L. Mills, C. (in press). The shower effect: Mind-wandering facilitates creative incubation during moderately-engaging activities. Submitted to Psychology of Creativity, Aesthetics, and the Arts.

Kam, J.W.Y., Irving, Z.C., Mills, C., Gopnik, A., Knight, R.T. (2021). Distinct electrophysiological signatures of task-unrelated and dynamic thoughts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

D’Mello, S.K., Mills, C. (2021). Mind wandering during reading: A review of cognitive, behavioral, computational, and intervention research. Language and Linguistics Compass. 15(4), e12412

Mills, C., Gregg, J., Bixler, R., D’Mello, S.K. (2021). Eye-Mind Reader: An intelligent reading interface that promotes long-term comprehension by detecting and responding to mind wandering. Human Computer Interaction.

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 & Cognition, 58, 20-33.

Dixon, M.L., De La Vega, A., Mills, C., Andrews-Hanna, J., Spreng, R.N., Cole, M., Christoff, K. (2018). Heterogeneity within the frontoparietal control network and its relationship to the default and dorsal attention networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201715766.

Raffaelli, Q., Mills, C., Christoff, K. (2017). The knowns and unknowns of boredom: A review of the literature. Experimental Brain Research.

Mills, C., Graesser, A.C., Risko, E.F., D’Mello, S.K. (2017). Cognitive Coupling during Reading. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. 146(6), 872-883.