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Ergonomics. 2013;56(10):1515-24. doi: 10.1080/00140139.2013.821172. Epub 2013 Jul 23.

Psychometric properties of the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire.

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a Institute of Naval Medicine , Gosport Hampshire UK.


The Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ) is used in ergonomics research to measure behavioural problems associated with attentiveness and memory in everyday life. CFQ scores have been related to constructs such as accident proneness and outcomes such as human error and psychological strain. The two-year test-retest reliability of the CFQ is reported together with the findings of factor analyses of CFQ data from 535 respondents. Evidence for the predictive and criterion validity and internal reliability of the CFQ is provided. Psychological strain was measured concurrently with CFQ on both testing occasions, two years apart. The test-retest reliability of the summated CFQ score was found to be 0.71, while for the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) strain measure it was 0.32.The relative variance stability was five times greater for the CFQ than the GHQ, indicating that scores on these questionnaires are not covariates. The use of the CFQ as a measure of cognitive control capacity is also discussed.


Ergonomists have long been interested in human error and the role of high work demands due to poor equipment design and excessive workload. The CFQ measures attentiveness in daily life and is shown to have excellent psychometric properties that make it suitable for use in both laboratory and field studies as a trait measure of attentiveness in daily life.

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