Confidence in memory and other cognitive processes in obsessive–compulsive disorder
ABSTRACT Previous studies have implicated beliefs about one's memory (i.e., meta-memory), in maintaining the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), particularly with respect to checking rituals. However, most research has focused on task- or situation-specific perceptions about memory performance. Expanding on this research, we undertook two studies with analogue and clinical cohorts to examine the relationship between general 'trait' beliefs about memory and related processes and OCD symptoms. Trait meta-memory as measured in the current study was conceptualised as a multi-dimensional construct encompassing a range of beliefs about memory and related processes including confidence in one's general memory abilities, decision-making abilities, concentration and attention, as well as perfectionistic standards regarding one's memory. Meta-memory factors were associated with OCD symptoms, predicting OCD symptoms over-and-above mood and other OCD-relevant cognitions. Meta-memory factors were found to be particularly relevant to checking symptoms. Implications for theory and research are discussed.
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ABSTRACT: The inferential confusion hypothesis postulates that obsessive doubt is perpetuated by a subjective form of reasoning characterized primarily by a distrust of reality and an overreliance on imagined possibilities. However, experimental evidence for this hypothesis may be compromised by a potential confound between type of information (reality vs. possibility) and its valence (danger vs. safety). In the present study we aimed to untangle this potential confound. Forty OCD and 40 non-clinical participants underwent two versions of the Inferential Processes Task (Aardema, F., et al. (2009). The quantification of doubt in obsessive-compulsive disorder. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 2, 188-205). In the original version, the reality-based information is congruent with the safety hypothesis, whereas the possibility-based information is congruent with the danger hypothesis. In the modified version incorporated in the present study, the reality-based information is congruent with the danger hypothesis, whereas the possibility-based information is congruent with the safety hypothesis. Our findings did not support the inferential confusion hypothesis: both OCD and control participants changed their estimations of the probability of unwanted events based on the type of information they received (whether it conveyed danger or safety) regardless of whether it was framed as reality or possibility. The design of the present study does not lend itself to examining alternative explanations for the persistence of doubt in OCD. The hypothesized inferential confusion in OCD requires further validation. It is particularly important to demonstrate that findings do not reflect a prudential reasoning strategy. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 03/2015; 48. DOI:10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.02.008 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Hoarding disorder (HD) is characterized by difficulty discarding, clutter, and frequently excessive acquiring. Theories have pointed to intense negative emotional reactions (e.g., sadness) as one factor that may play a critical role in HD's etiology. Preliminary work with an analogue sample indicated that more intense negative emotions following emotional films were linked with greater hoarding symptoms. Symptom provocation imaging studies with HD patients have also found evidence for excessive activation in brain regions implicated in processing emotions. The current study utilized a sample with self-reported serious hoarding difficulties to examine how hoarding symptoms related to both general and hoarding-related emotional reactivity, taking into account the specificity of these relationships. We also examined how two cognitive factors, fear of decision-making and confidence in memory, modified this relationship. 628 participants with self-identified hoarding difficulties completed questionnaires about general emotional reactivity, depression, anxiety, decision-making, and confidence in memory. To assess hoarding-related emotional reactivity, participants reported their emotional reactions when imagining discarding various items. Heightened general emotional reactivity and more intense emotional reactions to imagined discarding were associated with both difficulty discarding and acquisition, but not clutter, controlling for age, gender, and co-occurring mood and anxiety symptoms. Fear of decision-making and confidence in memory interacted with general emotional reactivity to predict hoarding symptoms. These findings provide support for cognitive-behavioral models of hoarding. Experimental research should be conducted to discover whether emotional reactivity increases vulnerability for HD. Future work should also examine whether emotional reactivity should be targeted in interventions for hoarding. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.Journal of Psychiatric Research 02/2015; 63. DOI:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.02.009 · 4.09 Impact Factor