Obsessive-compulsive tendencies may be associated with attenuated access to internal states: Evidence from a biofeedback-aided muscle tensing task

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Abstract

The present study was motivated by the hypothesis that inputs from internal states in obsessive-compulsive (OC) individuals are attenuated, which could be one source of the pervasive doubting and checking in OCD. Participants who were high or low in OC tendencies were asked to produce specific levels of muscle tension with and without biofeedback, and their accuracy in producing the required muscle tension levels was assessed. As predicted, high OC participants performed more poorly than low OC participants on this task when biofeedback was not available. When biofeedback was provided, the difference between the groups was eliminated, and withdrawing the monitor again reversed this effect. Finally, when given the opportunity, high OC participants were more likely than low OC participants to request biofeedback. These results suggest that doubt in OCD may be grounded in a real and general deficiency in accessing internal states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1409
Number of pages9
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume21
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Biofeedback
  • Checking
  • Doubt
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

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