OCD the cognitive explanantion

Psychological explanation of OCD the cognitive explanation.

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Cognitive explanation of OCD

OCD is a consequence of faulty irrational ways of thinking . Patients dismiss intrusive thoughts and blame themselves for what might happen as a result. 

Actions to neutralise intrusive thoughts; 

Reinforced behaviour is repeated and it becomes harder to resist because of the temporary relief it brings, it becomes a compulsion. 


Intrusive thoughts and fear make obesessions and the need to reduce them becomes more important.   ( relief equals positive reinforcement of action). 

Suppression of intrusive thoughts

WEGNER (87) found that a group of students asked not to think of a white bear were more likely to do so than a group allowed to think about it. This suggests a deliberate attempt to suppress thoughts leads to an increase in these thoughts. 

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Evaluation of cognitive explanation

CLARK (92) found that people with OCD do have more intrusive thoughts. 

RACHMAN AND HODGSON'S finding that compulsive acts can neutralise anxiety supports cognitive position. 

SHER (83) found compulsive checkers had memory problems to the extent that the less able to distinguish between an action and imagining carrying it out than a control group. 

SALKOIUS (97) on some days aked participants to suppress thoughts and on other days not to. They kept a diary record of intrusive thoughts.  Found when suppressing thoughts they had twice as many. 


Explanation is more descriptive rather than explanatory,   we all have intrusive thoughts but dont develop OCD. 

Explanation ignores the role of genetic factors

Alot of the evidence is based on correlations. 

The explanation fails to account for some of the known facts about OCD. 

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