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Involuntary social cue integration in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder

Tumkaya, Selim; Karadag, Filiz; Jellema, Tjeerd; Oguzhanoglu, Nalan Kalkan; Ozdel, Osman; Atesci, Figen Culha; Varma, Gulfizar


Selim Tumkaya

Filiz Karadag

Nalan Kalkan Oguzhanoglu

Osman Ozdel

Figen Culha Atesci

Gulfizar Varma


Objective Patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) have inferior social functioning compared to healthy controls, but the exact nature of these social deficits, and the underpinning mechanisms, are unknown. We sought to investigate social functioning in patients with OCD by measuring their involuntary/spontaneous processing of social cues using a specifically designed test, which might reveal deficits in these patients that explicit voluntary tasks do not detect. Methods The sample of the study consisted of an OCD group (n = 25) and a control group (n = 26). Both groups performed an adaptation of the Social Distance Judgment Task (SDJT; Jellema et al., 2009), in which participants have to judge the geometrical distance between two human cartoon figures presented on a computer screen. Head/gaze direction and body direction were manipulated to be either compatible, i.e. both directed to the left or to the right (Compatible condition) or incompatible, i.e. body directed toward the observer (frontal view) and head/gaze directed to the left or right (Incompatible condition). Results In the Compatible condition, controls nor OCD patients were influenced by the social cues in their judgments of the geometrical distances. However, in the Incompatible condition, where the attentional cue was more conspicuous, both groups were influenced by the cues, but the controls to a significantly larger extent than the OCD patients. Conclusions This study showed that patients with OCD are less likely, compared to controls, to automatically/spontaneously integrate the other’s direction of attention into their visual percept. This may have resulted in their judgments of the geometrical distances between the agents to be more accurate than those of controls. The suggested impairment in automatically integrating social cues may have important repercussions for the social functioning of OCD patients.


Tumkaya, S., Karadag, F., Jellema, T., Oguzhanoglu, N. K., Ozdel, O., Atesci, F. C., & Varma, G. (2014). Involuntary social cue integration in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 55(1), 137-144.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Oct 22, 2013
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Deposit Date Feb 26, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Comprehensive psychiatry
Print ISSN 0010-440X
Electronic ISSN 1532-8384
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Issue 1
Pages 137-144
Keywords Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2016 University of Hull
Additional Information This is an authors accepted manuscript of an article published in Comprehensive psychiatry, 2014, v. 55 issue 1.


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