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OCD Patients Show Serious Errors in Inductive Reasoning.

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder show significant defects in inductive but not deductive reasoning, Marie-Claude Pelissier reported at the World Congress of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

This finding lends support to the idea of using inference-based therapies in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Using such an approach, the therapist attempts to offer the patient insight into his or her logical errors.

Ms. Pelessier, a doctoral student at the University of Quebec in Montreal, studied 12 patients with OCD, 10 with generalized anxiety disorder, and 12 nonanxious controls. All were presented with three deductive and four inductive tasks, three of which she described in detail:

* The Watson Selection Task. This deductive task requires participants to test a conditional rule by turning over the most informative cards to either confirm or disprove the rule. There were no significant differences among the three groups in terms of any of the deductive tasks, Ms. Pelessier noted.

* The Bridging. This inductive task asks participants to infer a link between two logically unrelated statements. Patient with OCD took significantly more time to complete the task than those in the other two groups.

* Supporting an Arbitrary Statement. In response to the investigator's statement, "This pen belongs to me," participants were asked to state their degree of conviction in the statement and then provide reasons supporting the basis for their conviction. When asked to again rate their degree of conviction in the statement's veracity, all three groups initially had similar reactions. But after giving supporting reasons, the OCD group became significantly less confident in the truth of the statement.

People with OCD are not lacking formal, logical deductive abilities, but these patients do show an inductive reasoning style that is distinct from the people with generalized anxiety disorder and nonanxious controls, Ms. Pelissier commented.

Those who have OCD as well as overvalued ideation, a more severe disorder, apparently become confused about how to apply the principles of inductive reasoning, reported Dr. Kieron O'Connor of the University of Montreal. "If such confusion does exist ... we can fairly directly translate these findings into cognitive therapy [giving patients] insight into their errors.

In inference-based therapy, the therapist first attempts to discover the patient's faulty narrative, which could be an inferential jump from thinking, "What if my hands are dirty?" to acting as if her hands really were dirty.

The therapist then helps the patient gain insight into the power of the narrative to influence her emotions and behavior, to recognize that the narrative is self-generated, and to help the patient identify the inferential confusions in the narrative.
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Title Annotation:obsessive compulsive disorder
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Oct 1, 2001
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