Obsessive–compulsive disorder as a disorder of attention

Mind and Language 33 (1):3-16 (2018)

Authors
Neil Levy
Oxford University
Abstract
An influential model holds that obsessive–compulsive disorder is caused by distinctive personality traits and belief biases. But a substantial number of sufferers do not manifest these traits. I propose a predictive coding account of the disorder, which explains both the symptoms and the cognitive traits. On this account, OCD centrally involves heightened and dysfunctionally focused attention to normally unattended sensory and motor representations. As these representations have contents that predict catastrophic outcomes, patients are disposed to engage in behaviors and mental rituals designed to forestall these outcomes or to produce more precise information. The same representations also cause the cognitive traits characteristic of sufferers.
Keywords attention  obsessive–compulsive disorder  precision  predictive coding  psychopathology
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12172
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References found in this work BETA

Pushmi-Pullyu Representations.Ruth Garrett Millikan - 1995 - Philosophical Perspectives 9:185-200.

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Obsessive–Compulsive Akrasia.Samuel Kampa - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
It Just Doesn’T Feel Right: OCD and the ‘Scaling Up’ Problem.Adrian Downey - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-23.

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