Hypervigilance in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The hypothesis that patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) suffer from hypervigilant attention was investigated via explicit memory (incidental recall and recognition) and priming (reading speed) measures. OCD patients did not differ from normal controls on explicit measures of memory; specifically, recognition of unusual words (experiment 1) and recall and recognition of words and feature-specific information (experiment 2). Although both normal controls and OCD patients showed priming, the pattern of priming differed for the two groups (experiment 2). Specifically, patients with OCD failed to show feature-specific priming, suggesting they may have attended more focally on the priming task than did normal controls. These findings support previous reports of normal performance in OCD on explicit memory tasks, but suggest more sensitive measures may reflect differences in processing information.