Dyslexic students have more everyday cognitive lapses

James H. Smith-Spark, Angela J. Fawcett, Roderick I. Nicolson, John E. Fisk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


There is a dearth of information about the everyday performance difficulties of adult dyslexic people. This study investigates the empirical support for anecdotal reports of increased vulnerability to distraction in dyslexia, using the self-report Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ). Two groups of university students, a dyslexic group and a non-dyslexic control group, were asked to complete the CFQ. The dyslexic group reported a higher frequency of everyday lapses in cognition, scoring significantly higher on a number of CFQ items. Representative problems include distractibility, over-focusing (so that relevant peripheral information is missed), and word-finding difficulties. A similar measure administered to close friends of dyslexic people, the CFQ-for-others, yielded results consistent with those of the CFQ, with major findings being that their friends considered them to be more disorganised, more distractible, and more absent-minded than normal. The results indicate clearly the continuing effects of dyslexia on cognition in adulthood and demonstrate that dyslexic impairments are not limited to "artificial" laboratory tasks or even literacy tasks but, instead, pervade everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-182
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004


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