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Research indicates that people suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) possess several cognitive biases, including a tendency to over-estimate threat and avoid risk. Studies have suggested that people with OCD not only over-estimate the severity of negative events, but also under-estimate their ability to cope with such occurrences. What is less clear is if they also miscalculate the extent to which they will be emotionally impacted by a given experience.
The aim of the current study was twofold. First, we examined if people with OCD are especially poor at predicting their emotional responses to future events (i.e. affective forecasting). Second, we analysed the relationship between affective forecasting accuracy and risk assessment across a broad domain of behaviours.
Forty-one OCD, 42 non-anxious, and 40 socially anxious subjects completed an affective forecasting task and a self-report measure of risk-taking.
Findings revealed that affective forecasting accuracy did not differ among the groups. In addition, there was little evidence that affective forecasting errors are related to how people assess risk in a variety of situations.
The results of our study suggest that affective forecasting is unlikely to contribute to the phenomenology of OCD or social anxiety disorder. However, that people over-estimate the hedonic impact of negative events might have interesting implications for the treatment of OCD and other disorders treated with exposure therapy.
Many studies have identified changes in the brain associated with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), but few have examined the relationship between genetic determinants of OCD and brain variation.
We present the first genome-wide investigation of overlapping genetic risk for OCD and genetic influences on subcortical brain structures.
Using single nucleotide polymorphism effect concordance analysis, we measured genetic overlap between the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) of OCD (1465 participants with OCD, 5557 controls) and recent GWASs of eight subcortical brain volumes (13 171 participants).
We found evidence of significant positive concordance between OCD risk variants and variants associated with greater nucleus accumbens and putamen volumes. When conditioning OCD risk variants on brain volume, variants influencing putamen, amygdala and thalamus volumes were associated with risk for OCD.
These results are consistent with current OCD neurocircuitry models. Further evidence will clarify the relationship between putamen volume and OCD risk, and the roles of the detected variants in this disorder.
Declaration of interest
The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.