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A challenging task for assessment of checking behaviors in obsessive–compulsive disorder

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Rotge JY, Clair AH, Jaafari N, Hantouche EG, Pelissolo A, Goillandeau M, Pochon JB, Guehl D, Bioulac B, Burbaud P, Tignol J, Mallet L, Aouizerate B. A challenging task for assessment of checking behaviors in obsessive–compulsive disorder. Objective: 

The present study concerns the objective and quantitative measurement of checking activity, which represents the most frequently observed compulsions in obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD). To address this issue, we developed an instrumental task producing repetitive checking in OCD subjects. Method: 

Fifty OCD subjects and 50 normal volunteers (NV) were administered a delayed matching-to-sample task that offered the unrestricted opportunity to verify the choice made. Response accuracy, number of verifications, and response time for choice taken to reflect the degree of uncertainty and doubt were recorded over 50 consecutive trials. Results: 

Despite similar levels of performance, patients with OCD demonstrated a greater number of verifications and a longer response time for choice before checking than NV. Such behavioral patterns were more pronounced in OCD subjects currently experiencing checking compulsions. Conclusion: 

The present task might be of special relevance for the quantitative assessment of checking behaviors and for determining relationships with cognitive processes.

Keywords: checking behavior; delayed matching-to-sample task; doubt; obsessive–compulsive disorder

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Clinical Investigation Center, Behavior, Emotion and Basal Ganglia Laboratory, INSERM IFR 70, Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France 2: Academic Department of Adult Psychiatry, Henri Laborit University Hospital, Poitiers, France 3: Academic Department of Adult Psychiatry, Pitié-Salpêtrière University Hospital, Paris, France 4: Movement, Adaptation, Cognition Laboratory, CNRS UMR 5227, Bordeaux 2 University, Bordeaux, France 5: Academic Department of Adult Psychiatry, Charles Perrens Hospital, Bordeaux, France

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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