M. van den Hout
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder and the paradoxical effects of perseverative behaviour on experienced uncertainty
- Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Patients suffering from Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) tend to check repeatedly and after checking episodes they tend to be uncertain about their memory for checked events. It seems plausible that memory distrust motivates checking, but why checking is repeated and why one check is not enough to reassure the patient is uncertain. To study this, an interactive computer animation displaying light bulbs or gas rings was developed and healthy participants were asked to engage in repeated checking. In five separate experiments we found that repeatedly checking the same class of items resulted in sharp decreases in detail and vividness of memory of the checked events while the accuracy of the memory remained intact. The phenomenological quality of the experienced memory distrust was highly similar to the ambivalence OCD patients tend to report about their memory after checking. Furthermore, there were some indications that repeated checking not only undermines trust in memory, but may also reduce the sense that one acted responsibly. The experimental preparation may be used as a model for OCD checking. The study suggests that repeated checking is sufficient to cause paradoxical effects on memory trust and that repeated checking is a counterproductive safety strategy.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.