False memory and obsessive-compulsive symptoms

Klumpp, Heide, Amir, Nader and Garfinkel, Sarah N (2009) False memory and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Depression and Anxiety, 26 (5). pp. 396-402. ISSN 1091-4269

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Abstract

Background—The memory deficit hypothesis has been used to explain the maintenance of
repetitive behavior in individuals with obsessive–compulsive disorder, yet the majority of studies
focusing on verbal memory show mixed results. These studies primarily evaluated memory
accuracy via the inclusion or omission of previously encountered material, as opposed to false
recognition (i.e., the inclusion of erroneous material). We evaluated false memories and memory
processes in individuals with obsessive–compulsive washing symptoms (OC), individuals
matched on depression and anxiety without OC symptoms (D/A), and in nonanxious individuals
(NAC).
Methods—Twenty-eight OC, 28 D/A, and 29 NAC individuals read OC-threat relevant, positive,
and neutral scenarios and then performed a recognition test. Erroneous recognition of words
associated to encoded, but not previously viewed, scenarios were classified as false memories. To
evaluate processes underlying memory, participants completed a modified remember/know task to
examine whether the OC individuals differed from the other individuals in recollective clarity for
false memories of OC-relevant (e.g., germs), positive (e.g., lottery), and neutral (e.g., bread)
material.
Results—The OC individuals used “know” more than the D/A and NAC individuals for false
memories of threat. For veridical memories, the OC individuals used “know” more than the NAC,
but not, D/A individuals.
Conclusions—The greater reliance on “know” (i.e., feelings of familiarity) in general and false
threat memories in particular in individuals with OC symptoms may add to feelings of uncertainty
for threat-relevant material, which may contribute to compulsive behavior.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Brighton and Sussex Medical School
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Jonathan Williams
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 14:45
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2017 11:33
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56671

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