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Rule-following and instructional control in obsessive-compulsive behaviour

Hassoulas, Athanasios, McHugh, Louise, Morris, Hannah, Dickenson, Emily Rose and Reed, Phil 2017. Rule-following and instructional control in obsessive-compulsive behaviour. European Journal of Behavior Analysis 18 (2) , pp. 276-290. 10.1080/15021149.2017.1388608

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Two experiments were designed to investigate differences in rule-governed responding between participants who scored either higher or lower on obsessive-compulsive trait measures. In Experiment 1, participants were required to move a marker through a matrix, whereby schedule-sensitive behavior was reinforced on a fixed-ratio 18 or differential-reinforcement-of-low-rate 6 s schedule, which alternated every 2 min. Both groups were further divided into separate instructional conditions, receiving minimal, partial, or accurate instructions. Results revealed that accurate instructions facilitated greater schedule-sensitivity in the high scoring group. Experiment 2 employed random-ratio (RR) and random-interval (RI) schedules of reinforcement to measure schedule-sensitive responding with only minimal instructions provided to all participants. The results showed that the high scoring group maintained a rigid form of responding throughout the task, suggestive of a form of self-generated rule-following. The low scoring groups in both experiments did not appear to require accurate instructions to make contact with the schedule contingencies. The findings provide insight into the maintenance of obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCB).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Publisher: Nafo
ISSN: 1502-1149
Date of Acceptance: 10 March 2017
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 14:00

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