Compulsive-like sentence repetition: Exploring the threshold at which uncertainty and dissociation in text comprehension occurs.
Sas, R. van
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Multiple studies have investigated the relationship between OCD-like perseveration and uncertainty. With regards to compulsive checking, staring and sentence repetition, it has been found that perseveration paradoxically leads to uncertainty and dissociation. Concerning sentence repetition, it was found that after 40 times repeating, feelings of uncertainty and dissociation were experienced (Vink, 2009). With regards to the study by Vink (2009), it could be argued that OC patients do not tend repeat a sentence as often as 40 times. In order to test the clinical relevance of sentence repetition, this study investigated whether the increase in uncertainty and dissociation is experienced before 40 repetitions. Five groups of 20 healthy students, which differed in number of repetitions (0, 3, 6, 9 & 30 times), participated in the current study to investigate at which number of sentence repetitions feelings of uncertainty and dissociation increased. Results showed that the interaction effect between Time (pre- vs. post-test) and Condition (0, 3, 6, 9, & 30 times repeating) was nearly significant. It was decided to further analyze the data, because the non significant finding was probably due to problems with the power. Further analyses indicated that, between the pre-test and the post-test, uncertainty and dissociation increased only after a sentence was repeated for 30 times. These results seem to support the proposition that, in general, OCD-like perseveration leads to uncertainty. However, the effect found in this study is still not clinically relevant, since OC patients, in all probability, would not repeat a sentence for 30 times. It remains unclear why a nearly significant effect was found in the current study; methodological shortcomings are possibly the cause of this. Further research is necessary, regarding validating the thresholds of the model as a paradigm for compulsive-like sentence repetition.