Threat-related processing supports prospective memory retrieval for people with obsessive tendencies

Richard L. Marsh, Gene A. Brewer, John Paul Jameson, Gabriel I. Cook, Nader Amir, Jason L. Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Obsessive-compulsive disorder can result in a variety of deficits to cognitive performance, including negative consequences for attention and memory performance. The question addressed in the current study concerned whether this disorder influenced performance in an event-based prospective memory task. The results from a subclinical population indicated that, relative to non-anxious controls and mildly depressed controls, people with obsessive-compulsive tendencies (washing compulsions) incur decrements in remembering to respond to cues related to a neutral intention (respond to animals). This deficit was ameliorated by giving the subclinical group an intention about a threat-related category (respond to bodily fluids) and cueing them with concepts that they had previously rated as particularly disturbing to them. Thus, their normal attentional bias for extended processing of threat-related information overcame their natural deficit in event-based prospective memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-686
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Prospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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