Everyday Errors

The following statements are about minor mistakes and absent-mindedness everyone notices from time to time, but we have very little information about just how common they are. The great majority of time these little foibles are harmless, though they do have serious safety implications in industry and everyday life. We want to know how frequently these sorts of things have happened to you.

There are 12 statements.


  1. I begin one task and get distracted into doing something else.



  1. When reading I find that I have read several paragraphs without being able to recall what I read.



  1. I have absent-mindedly placed things in unintended locations (e.g., putting milk in the pantry or sugar in the fridge).



  1. I fail to see what I am looking for even though I am looking right at it.



  1. I have gone to the fridge to get one thing (e.g., milk) and taken something else (e.g., juice).



  1. I have to go back to check whether I have done something or not (e.g., turning out lights, locking doors).



  1. I have absent-mindedly mixed up targets of my action (e.g., pouring or putting something into the wrong container).



  1. I go into a room to do one thing (e.g., brush my teeth) and end up doing something else (e.g., brush my hair).



  1. I have absent-mindedly misplaced frequently used objects, such as keys, pens, glasses, etc.



  1. I make mistakes because I am doing one thing and thinking about another.



  1. I have gone into a room to get something, got distracted, and wondered what I went there for.



  1. I have lost track of a conversation because I zoned out when someone else was talking.