New Research: Mild Uncertainty Promotes Checking Behavior in Subclinical Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


Taken from:

Marieke B. J. Toffolo, Marcel A. van den Hout, Ignace T. C. Hooge, Iris M. Engelhard, and Danielle C. Cath

Individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCDs) will often compulsively check to make sure they have completed an act such as locking a door. In this study, the authors examined whether more general uncertainty would also induce compulsive checking behaviors. Individuals with high and low levels of OCD tendencies were asked to look for a closed square amid a display of open squares. The closed square was present in only half the trials. High OCD participants checked longer and had more eye fixations than did low OCD participants only in trials in which the closed square was absent. This finding suggests that general levels of uncertainty may induce individuals with OCD to engage in repetitive checking behaviors.


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March 15, 2013

For Immediate Release

Contact: Anna Mikulak Association for Psychological Science


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