Van incompleet gevoel naar incompleet geheugen Obsessieve-compulsieve stoornis: invloed van checkgedrag op het geheugen bij Not Just Right Experiences
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An important symptom of Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is compulsive checking in order to prevent a negative event or situation or preventing or reducing distress (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Research showed that the repeated checking actually causes memory distrust and therefore it is counterproductive to obtain the feeling of certainty they wish to achieve by checking (van den Hout & Kindt, 2003b). Checking can be motivated by either harm avoidance or an impulse. When the compulsive behavior is motivated by harm avoidance, a negative consequence is feared and repeated checking is meant to prevent this. If the motivation is an impulse, it can be described as a feeling of incompleteness, which can lead to distress (Pietrefesa & Coles, 2008). This feeling of incompleteness is also called a Not Just Right Experience (NJRE), because the urge to check comes from the need for experiences to feel ‘just right’ (Summerfeldt, Kloosterman, Parker, Antony & Swinson, 2001). Since it has been found that repeated checking causes more uncertainty and memory distrust, the current study aims to find out if the same effect occurs with NJRE’s. It was hypothesized that when the meta-memory deteriorates, the NJRE’s will increase. Meta-memory was operationalized in confidence, vividness and detail, using the same computer task as Van den Hout and Kindt (2003). It was expected that repeated checking would induce NJRE’s and that this would not be the case in the control condition. The participants were 48 students, equally divided over two conditions. Both groups were given the same pre-test and post-test of a virtual gas stove, which they had to turn on/off and check repeatedly. Between the pre-test and post-test, one group had to check the gas stove again (relevant checking; the experimental group), while the other group checked virtual light bulbs (irrelevant checking; the control group). After the pre-test and after the post-test the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about vividness, detail and confidence of their last memory of checking and NJRE’s. The results showed the expected decrease in vividness and detail. The effect was not found for confidence, which could not be explained by anything but a chance finding, seeing this effect was found in many other studies (McNally & Kohlbeck, 1993; MacDonald, Antony, MacLeod & Richter, 1997; Tolin et al., 2001; Zitterl et al., 2001; Van den Hout & Kindt, 2004; Coles, Radomsky & Horng, 2006; Radomsky, Gilchrist & Dussault, 2006, Radomsky & Alcolado, 2010). When it comes to the NJRE, an effect in the expected direction was found, although it was not significant. Replication of this study is needed. If it would then be found that NJRE’s increase, this would mean that repeated checking does not only have a paradoxal effect on meta-memory, but also on NJRE’s.