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J Anxiety Disord. 2008;22(1):56-66. Epub 2007 Feb 3.

Recognition of facial expressions in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Sprengelmeyer et al. [Sprengelmeyer, R., Young, A. W., Pundt, I., Sprengelmeyer, A., Calder, A. J., Berrios, G., et al. (1997). Disgust implicated in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 264, 1767-1773] found that patients with OCD showed severely impaired recognition of facial expressions of disgust. This result has potential to provide a unique window into the psychopathology of OCD, but several published attempts to replicate this finding have failed. The current study compared OCD patients to normal controls and panic disorder patients on ability to recognize facial expressions of negative emotions. Overall, the OCD patients were impaired in their ability to recognize disgust expressions, but only 33% of patients showed this deficit. These deficits were related to OCD symptom severity and general functioning, factors that may account for the inconsistent findings observed in different laboratories.

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