Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: The influence of increased general uncertainty on checking behaviour
MetadataShow full item record
Patients with OCD respond to clinical uncertainty with perseverative checking. Research showed that this checking behavior is a very counter productive activity, only enhancing uncertainty instead of decreasing it. These patients also display general subclinical uncertainty, which may lead vulnerable individuals to seek reassurance by perseverative checking in response to a mild uncertainty that is superimposed on this increased general uncertainty. The present study was developed to investigate whether mild uncertainty indeed causes checking behavior and which role intolerance of uncertainty plays in this. A subclinical population consisting of 68 participants, who either scored high on OCD tendencies (OC+, n = 34) or low on OCD tendencies (OC-, n = 34) on a self-report measurement of OC symptoms, was given a Visual Search Task. The task consisted of 50 search fields for which the participant indicated whether the target was ‘present’ or ‘absent’. Decisions in target present trials induced little uncertainty, but decisions in target absent trials were more ambiguous because participants relied on not having overlooked the target. Results revealed no significant Group x Condition interaction in number of eye fixations and reaction time (RT). Sufficient evidence to make a conclusive statement lacks. Further research within a clinical population is strongly recommended.