2014 IOCDF Grant

Extinction as a facilitator of cognitive bias modification in pediatric OCD

Michelle Rozenman, PhD

Semel Institute, University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)

Award Amount: $49,197

While therapies such as exposure and response prevention (ERP) can effectively treat OCD in children, not all children see a decrease in symptoms. From a cognitive perspective, OCD is associated with the presence of cognitive biases that lead people to interpret ambiguous information as threatening.

This study by Dr. Rozenman and her team aimed to address how cognitive bias modification could be used to help people with pediatric OCD who do not respond to treatments, and to examine if extinction of these negative biases is related to treatment progress. By testing a four-week course of Cognitive Bias Modification for Interpretation (CBM-I) — a training to switch interpretation of ambiguous information from threatening to neutral — on young people with OCD, the team aimed to understand how this would impact OCD symptoms, interpretation of biases, physiological arousal in response to fear-inducing stimuli, and whether extinction of these biases relates to treatment. If CBM-I works, it could serve as a useful method to prepare treatment non-responders to ERP.