Missing the forest for the trees? Deficient memory for linguistic gist in obsessive-compulsive disorder

A. R. Cabrera, R. J. McNally, C. R. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) exhibit recall deficits on word learning tasks, mediated by their failure to detect semantic connections among the words. Methods. In the present experiment, using methods devised by Bransford & Franks (1971), we tested whether this encoding problem impairs their extraction of gist from complex linguistic material. Results. Consistent with our hypothesis, OCD patients extracted less gist from related sentences than did healthy participants. The groups did not differ in recognition memory for individual sentences or in criterion for affirming previously encountered sentences as 'old', as evinced by signal detection indices of memory sensitivity (d′) and response bias (β), or in recognition memory confidence. Conclusions. These data provide further evidence that OCD patients exhibit less reliance on organizational strategies than do healthy control participants. These data are consistent with neuropsychological research suggestive of prefrontal executive problems in OCD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1089-1094
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological medicine
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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