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Depress Anxiety. 2008;25(7):E15-25.

Selective impairment in visual perception of biological motion in obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse, USA.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with a variety of well-documented cognitive deficits such as deficits in memory and executive functioning, but little is known about basic perceptual concomitants of OCD. This study investigated global, configural processing in OCD using dynamic (moving) and static stimuli with minimal demands on cognitive function. Twenty OCD patients and 16 age- and education-matched healthy control subjects were tested on four perceptual tasks: two motion tasks involved detection and discrimination of human activity portrayed by point-light animations ("biological" motion). The other two tasks involved detection of coherent, translational motion defined by random-dot cinematograms and detection of static global shape defined by spatially distributed contours. OCD patients exhibited impaired performance on biological motion tasks; in contrast, their performance on tasks of coherent motion detection and global form perception were comparable to those of healthy controls. These results indicate that OCD patients have a specific deficit in perceiving biological motion signals, whereas their perception of non-biological coherent motion and static global shape is intact. Because efficient social interactions depend on accurate and rapid perception of subtle socially relevant cues, deficits in biological motion perception may compromise social functioning in people with OCD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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