Alternation learning in obsessive-compulsive disorder

Ruth Gross-Isseroff*, Yehuda Sasson, Hillary Voet, Talma Hendler, Keren Luca-Haimovici, Haya Kandel-Sussman, Joseph Zohar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and an alternation learning task were administered to 15 women with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and 15 age-, sex-, education-, and intelligence-matched healthy controls, OCD patients were significantly slower on the WCST as compared to the controls. Their performance on the alternation learning task was impaired relative to the control group, though this difference was diminished when we used education as a covariate. We found a significant positive correlation between performance on the alternation task and severity of symptoms in the OCD group. Performance of similar alternation tasks is impaired by damage to the orbitofrontal cortex in nonhuman primates. Therefore the data presented support the hypothesis of orbitofrontal cortex dysfunction in OCD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-738
Number of pages6
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Alternation
  • Cognitive shift/set
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Perseveration
  • Wisconsin Card Sorting TEst (WCST)


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