Attentional bias in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A preliminary eye-tracking study

Mairead Mullen, Donncha Hanna, Maria Bradley, Dave Rogers, Julie-Ann Jordan, Kevin F.W. Dyer

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Attentional biases have been overlooked as a treatment focus in CBT practice. This pilot study examined patterns of attentional bias in an OCD clinical sample with a view to understanding the key mechanisms in order to inform assessment and intervention. It was hypothesised that individuals with OCD would demonstrate vigilance, delayed disengagement, and maintenance attentional biases towards OCD-related stimuli relative to a matched control group. Participants with OCD (n = 16) were compared with healthy controls (n = 16) matched by age and gender. Vigilance, disengagement and maintenance biases were measured by recording eye-movements during a free gaze task in which pairs of neutral-OCD and neutral-aversive images were presented. The OCD group demonstrated no evidence of vigilance or delayed disengagement biases toward OCD stimuli but did exhibit a maintenance bias towards OCD and, to a lesser extent, general aversive images. Clinical implications include the assessment of patient attentional biases to aid CBT interventions
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy
Early online date08 Dec 2020
Publication statusEarly online date - 08 Dec 2020


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