Cognitive Interference

At the Intelligence—Personality Crossroads
  • Irwin G. Sarason
  • Barbara R. Sarason
  • Gregory R. Pierce
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


Cognitive interference occupies territory on the border between personality and intelligence. Intelligence is inferred from how people perform on certain kinds of tasks. Poor performance, however, does not necessarily mean low intellective potential; it could be because the individual was upset, thinking about something else, or unmotivated. All of these circumstances can contribute to cognitive interference: thoughts that intrude on task-related activity and serve to reduce the quality and level of performance. Some cognitive intrusions can be thought of as aspects or products of personality, because they involve personal preoccupations that interfere with attention to the task at hand. Personality can facilitate performance (e.g., through high motivation and the ability to become absorbed in tasks), but it can also debilitate it (e.g., through worrying about the consequences of failure and being uncooperative with the tester).


Social Support Goal Orientation Test Anxiety Intrusive Thought Mathematics Anxiety 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irwin G. Sarason
    • 1
  • Barbara R. Sarason
    • 1
  • Gregory R. Pierce
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHamilton CollegeClintonUSA

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