No disadvantage for the processing of global visual features in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Steffen Moritz*, Mike Wendt, Lena Jelinek, Claudia Ruhe, Gladys Marina Arzola

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The present study examined whether patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) focus on details at the expense of global aspects. A recent study of our group using Navon letters (e.g., the letter "S" composed out of "A" letters) did not yield differences between OCD patients and controls on local processing. However, the task used may have lacked sensitivity, because it did not involve a response conflict condition (i.e., global and local level associated with different responses). In the current study, we gradually varied between-level conflict. Twenty-eight OCD patients and 30 healthy controls had to attend to the global and the local level of each item. OCD patients displayed comparable performance: Patients neither displayed a preference to respond to the local level nor enhanced interference from the local level. In conclusion, the present study does not support the idea that a generalized bias to "miss the forest for the trees" forms part of the vulnerability to OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-493
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Checker
  • Compulsions
  • Local-global processing
  • Obsessions
  • OCD
  • Visual processing
  • Washer


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