Feeling is believing: emotional reasoning in obsessive compulsive disorder

Miriam Lommen, Danielle Cath, I.M Engelhard, Patricia van Oppen



Information processing in anxiety patients is characterized by biases and thinking errors. One of these reasoning biases includes emotional reasoning: the tendency to draw conclusions about a situation based on subjective emotional response about this situation rather than objective information. Emotional reasoning in anxiety patients seems to maintain irrational
anxiety, as the subjective emotional response is seen as a validation of the presence of danger. Although emotional reasoning has been shown to be present in several anxiety disorders, it is unclear whether patients with obsessive
compulsive disorder (OCD) are also characterized by this problematic kind of reasoning. In this study we examined
emotional reasoning based on feelings of anxiety in a group of 295 patients with OCD, and compared this to a group of patients with anxiety disorders (N = 36) and a healthy control group (N = 36). Exploratory we also assessed to what extent these groups were influenced by feelings of responsibility in judging the dangerousness of situations. Results showed that OCD patients used emotional reasoning comparable to the anxiety patients group. In contrast to previous findings, we also found emotional reasoning in healthy controls, even though this seemed to be restricted to situations that contained objectively safe information, not danger information. Only the OCD-group rated the situation as more dangerous when feelings of responsibility were present, whereas the anxiety patients and healthy controls did not seem to be influenced by feelings of responsibility. The study provides promising evidence for the use of emotional reasoning based on both feelings of anxiety and responsibility. Clinical implications of these findings and possible next steps which could lead to interventions targeting this problematic reasoning will be discussed.
Originele taal-2English
TitelAnnual meeting of the European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies in Stockholm, Sweden
StatusPublished - 2016
Evenement46th European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Threapies Congress - Stockholm, Sweden
Duur: 31-aug.-20163-sep.-2016


Conference46th European Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Threapies Congress
Verkorte titelEABCT 2016
Internet adres


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Feeling is believing: emotional reasoning in obsessive compulsive disorder'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit