Is the problem that you have a bad memory, or is the problem that you think you have a bad memory? Understanding memory in OCD

Date & time

3–5pm 30 October 2014


PSYC 151


Professor Adam Radomsky, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal

Although memory deficit theories of OCD have been proposed to explain why some people repeat some actions over and over again, the evidence for memory deficits in OCD is inconsistent at best.  A number of ecologically valid experiments investigating memory in OCD have found strong evidence for memory biases, which in fact indicate that those with OCD likely have a superior memory for information which is perceived as threatening, relevant and personally significant. 

This presentation will review a number of experimental studies showing the presence of memory biases in addition to more recent work on memory appraisals (including memory confidence in OCD) and maladaptive beliefs about memory.  It will be shown that regardless of how accurate people’s memories may be, the quality of these memories can be undermined – in some cases dramatically – by repeated (compulsive) behaviour.

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