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J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Jun;89:73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.01.014. Epub 2017 Jan 31.

Over facilitation of unadapted cognitive processes in obsessive compulsive disorder as assessed with the computerized mirror pointing task.

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Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montréal, Canada; Montreal Mental Health University Institute, Montréal, Canada.
Montreal Mental Health University Institute, Montréal, Canada; Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montréal, Canada; Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), Canada. Electronic address:


Response inhibition has been suggested to be dysfunctional in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, this process involves intentional cognitive control, which does not correspond to the automatic emergence of stereotyped thoughts and behaviours usually reported by patients with OCD. In the present study, the excessive facilitation of unintentional processes was assessed in OCD by using the Computerized Mirror Pointing Task (CMPT). Seventy-six volunteers participated in this study, including 39 patients with OCD and 37 healthy controls. The CMPT was administered to all participants, and a score of appropriateness of the sensorimotor adaptation to the mirror inversion was computed from the initial deviation angle (IDA), that precedes the intentional readjustment of movement. Results showed that throughout the 40 trials of the CMPT, the IDA score remained significantly abnormal in patients with OCD in comparison with control participants. Further analyses of IDA scores in OCD revealed a clear tendency to keep a natural visuomotor processing that is rigid and unadapted to the mirror condition. Irrespective of the physical requirements of the environment, patients with OCD showed a strong tendency to initiate movements as per a previously consolidated - although unadapted - sensorimotor mapping. This suggests a tendency for an excessive facilitation of unintentional stereotyped processes. Further studies should be conducted on this question by using tasks sensitive to cognitive processes other than visuo-spatial abilities.


Cognition; Motor learning; Neuropsychology; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); Over facilitation; Response inhibition

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