There is equivocal evidence whether or not patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) share an attentional bias for concern-related material and if so, whether this reflects hypervigilance towards or problems to disengage from disorder-related material. In a recent study, we failed to detect an attentional bias in OCD patients using an emotional variant of the inhibition of return (IOR) paradigm containing OCD-relevant and neutral words. We reinvestigated the research question with a more stringent design that addressed potential moderators. A new IOR paradigm was set up using visual stimuli. Forty-two OCD patients and 31 healthy controls were presented with neutral (e.g., cup), anxiety-relevant (e.g., shark), checking-relevant (e.g., broken door), and washing-relevant (e.g., dirty toilet) cue pictures at one of two possible locations. Following a short or long interval sensitive to automatic versus controlled processes, a simple target stimulus appeared at either the cued or the uncued location. OCD patients responded significantly slower to targets that were preceded by an OCD-relevant cue. Results lend support to the claim that OCD patients share a processing abnormality for concern-related visual material.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
- Anxiety disorders
- Attentional bias
- Inhibition of return
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder