False beliefs maintenance for fear-related information in obsessive-compulsive disorder

An investigation with the hindsight paradigm

Steffen Moritz*, Rüdiger F. Pohl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


The present study tested whether participants with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) overestimate the incidence frequency of OCD-relevant phenomena and display a decreased hindsight bias for concern-related information, which may represent a maintenance factor for OCD. Thirty participants with OCD and 39 control participants were requested to estimate the incidence frequency of 8 events in each of 4 domains: washing-relevant, checking-relevant, negative, or neutral. Subsequently, participants received the correct statistics for all items and were requested to affectively appraise these. Two hours later participants had to reproduce their initial estimates. No differences emerged between participants with OCD and control participants regarding initial estimates. In case the frequency of an OCD-relevant item was initially largely overestimated, control participants expressed more relief when confronted with the correct solution than participants with OCD, especially for washing-relevant items. The recalled estimates showed a typical hindsight bias (i.e., the reproduced estimates were biased toward the correct response), but with no difference between groups. In sum, participants were normal in their subjective estimates of OCD-relevant events, and there was no evidence for a heightened maintenance of false beliefs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-742
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • False beliefs maintenance
  • Hindsight bias
  • Memory
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Overestimation of threat

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