The impact of cognitive interference on performance during prolonged sleep loss

Mario Mikulincer, Harvey Babkoff, Tamir Caspy, Hillel Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


A study was conducted on the effects of off-task cognitions on performance during sleep deprivation. Subjects answered the Thought Occurrence Questionnaire, assessing their proneness to engage in off-task cognitions, and were deprived of sleep for 72 hours, during which they performed a variety of tasks including visual discrimination and three versions of a logical reasoning task in which cognitive load was varied systematically. In addition, every day subjects answered the Cognitive Interference Questionnaire, which taps off-task cognitions during the experiment. Results indicated that subjects who habitually engage in off-task cognitions performed worse during 72 hours of sleep loss than subjects who do not engage in such distracting activities. In addition, it was found that the engagement in off-task cognitions increased during the 72 hours of sleep loss and such an engagement was related to deficits in performance accuracy. The mechanisms of off-task cognitions and sleep loss underlying these effects are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-86
Number of pages7
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1990


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