Attentional Bias in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder


  • Robert Graziano University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Attentional biases, or the predisposition to favor some specific stimuli, have been studied significantly in psychology as of late, including in relation to anxiety disorders. However, results have been contradictory as to their relevance in obsessive-compulsive disorder, as some studies have found their presence in OCD while others have shown no such evidence. A comprehensive view of the evidence, however, seems to point towards the existence of attentional biases in OCD, as many compelling arguments have been suggested as to why some studies have failed to find them. Still, attentional biases within OCD need to be further explored, as very little research has been done on many different OCD subtypes. One prospective avenue for more research is scrupulosity, an OCD subtype characterized by deep moral guilt. Scrupulosity has yet to be studied, and has a number of qualities that make it a good candidate for future studies. Attentional biases need to continue being investigated, as they may be able to further our understanding of the cognitive processes behind anxiety disorders.