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The Information Processing Flexibility of Obsessive-Compulsive Tendency Individuals
Author(s): 
Pages: 1264-1271
Year: Issue:  5
Journal: Psychological Science

Keyword:  obsessive-compulsive tendencyinformation processing flexibilityparallel processing indexfocused processingcue validity;
Abstract: Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) is a common clinical psychological disease. A large number of studies have shown that OCD patients have cognitive dysfunctions especially in attention, decision making, and information processing and so on. Previous studies of information processing in OCD focus on processing ways, but pay not so much attention to the flexibility of information processing which is a component of executive function. Moreover, OCD patients have deficiency in executive functions. So we propose that information processing flexibility indirectly reflects the insufficiency of OCD patients in executive functions. And it is necessary to explore the characteristics of OCD in the information processing flexibility.In order to eliminate the effects of other comorbid factors, we use Padua Inventory to screen high obsessive-compulsive tendency(HOC) and low obsessive-compulsive tendency(LOC) individuals as the research objects from the university students. The final sample includes 11 HOC and 10 LOC participants. By adjusting the individual probability(i.e., before each trial to give clues to prompt probability), the study set the scene of different probabilities used in the Flanker task(consistent stimulus(HHHHH \ SSSSS) and inconsistent stimulus(HHSHH \ SSHSS)), to examine whether the obsessive-compulsive tendencies will have differential information processing ways because of the changes in different probabilities scenarios and to verify the differences of the information processing flexibility between the two groups. The study designed three clues including "+", "-", "?", representing three kinds of signal probability: 80%(80% of the following stimulation would be consistent), 50%(50% of the following stimulation would be consistent), and 20%(20% of the following stimulation would be consistent).The reaction time and parallel processing index by the Flanker task were used as the dependent variables.The results showed that:(1) Under conditions with different probabilities clues, we found that the LOC participants had apparent differences in reaction time while the HOC participants did not;(2) Compared with the LOC participants, the HOC had a lower parallel processing index. Moreover, the parallel processing indexes of the LOC participants had significant differences under the three probability clues, but the HOC participants did not;(3) On probability forecast effectiveness of the reaction time, the differences of the LOC participants on the valid and invalid expected probability were significant, while in the HOC participants were not. And, the LOC participants showed shorter reaction time under the condition of valid expected probability than the invalid, suggesting that the LOC participants responded faster with valid expected probability than the invalid. Our findings suggest that:(1) the HOC participants may incline to use centralized information processing way that seems to be relatively slow;(2) the LOC participants may have a more flexible information processing way than the HOC. That is, the HOC group may deficit in the flexibility of information processing, showing less responsive to the changes of situations than the LOC group;(3) the HOC participants could be less easily affected by clue hints, and may lack strategic control ability of information processing ways.
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