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Am J Psychol. 2007 Winter;120(4):553-63.

Understanding cognitive failures: what's dissociation got to do with it?

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  • 1Pennsylvania State University, USA.


Intuitively, cognitive failures and dissociation seem to encompass overlapping mental phenomena. This study used a large sample to examine the nature of the relationship between these constructs. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analyses were performed on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ). The single factor resulting from the EFA of the CFQ correlated significantly with all factors from the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES). A conjoint item-level factor analysis using all items from both measures was performed, and two factors resulted. The first included all items from the CFQ and appeared to describe an absorption-like phenomenon. The second factor's highest positively loading items assessed more pathological forms of dissociation. Based on our results, we conclude that the CFQ and DES are assessing similar cognitive processes and that cognitive failures, as measured by the CFQ, overlap with nonpathological dissociation.

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