The Role of Dispositional and Situational Factors in Cognitive Interference

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Two studies investigated the cross-temporal stability and cross-situational consistency of cognitive interference. In Study 1, 70 college students reported on the intrusive thoughts they experienced during 2 course examinations and a self-reflective task. In Study 2, 55 college athletes reported on intrusive thoughts following 2 course examinations and 2 regular season football games. Major findings were (a) cognitive interference showed both cross-temporal stability and cross-situational consistency, (b) it was predicted by a measure of dispositional intrusive thinking, (c) the link between cognitive interference and dispositional intrusive thinking was not accounted for by indices of depressive symptomatology and trait anxiety, and (d) the degree of cross-situational consistency of cognitive interference and the content of these intrusive thoughts were influenced by situational factors.

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