Poster C107, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Seeing the forest or the trees? Evidence for differential information-seeking and updating in obsessive-compulsive patients and healthy controls
Andra Geana1, Christina L. Boisseau1,2, Steven Rasmussen1,2, Brianna Pritchett1,2, Michael J. Frank1; 1Brown University, 2Butler Hospital
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a highly debilitating neuropsychiatric condition, characterized by recurrent unwanted thoughts, images and impulses (obsessions) and repetitive stereotyped behaviors (compulsions). Despite its prevalence and significant impact on life, the mechanisms of OCD remain relatively undercharacterized, with mixed findings regarding the neurobiological source and degree of performance differences of OCD patients on tests of executive function, attention and learning. Building on clinical observations that OCD patients exhibit heightened sensitivity to uncertainty, we tested strategy differences in information-seeking and updating that we believe could underlie the persistence of compulsions in OCD. Specifically, we use a novel task and computational modeling to differentiate between the need to reduce uncertainty about local events (e.g., needing to check the stove repeatedly, despite sufficient evidence that it is off) versus the need to accumulate evidence from multiple sources to derive information about more global structure. In a small sample of nine patients and ten age-matched controls, we found evidence that OCD patients overvalue local information at the cost of building a less accurate world model. Moreover, this pattern was linked to differences in the update process, such as the weight of new information and the degree to which prediction error drives updating.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making