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It has been argued that the study of human-computer interaction (HCI) tends to neglect the user without advanced skills, and the prediction (as opposed to classification) of human error. The present work aims to redress these balances by attempting to obtain a predictive understanding of variation in susceptibility to computing error in everyday life among non-specialist users. On rare occasions, people lose the computing work they are carrying out because they forget to save it. Is this a matter only of unfortunate chance? The results of two studies indicated that this is not so. In both cases, levels of naturally occurring computing losses were found to be significantly related to individuals' general levels of susceptibility to cognitive failure, assessed by the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (CFQ), suggesting a possible explanation in terms of variation in attentional ability. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Applied Cognitive Psychology

Publication Date





861 - 868