Attention training with Dichotic Listening in OCD patients using an iPhone/iPod App

Research Area: Research Year: 2013
Type of Publication: Article
Authors: Haug, Elisabeth T.; Havnen, Audun; Hansen, Bjarne; Bless, Josef J.; Kvale, Gerd
Objective: Despite Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia with auditory hallucinations are clinically distinct and different mental disorders, they share a common feature: both groups of patients have problems ignoring intrusive thoughts and shift their attentional focus to relevant aspects of a given situation. It has been suggested that this deficit might be related to reduced flexibility in executive cognitive functions. In the current pilot study we wanted to explore if OCD patients could improve executive functions as indexed by Stroop test, after a three weeks training period with Dichotic Listening (DL) presented on an iPhone/iPod app. Furthermore, we wanted to explore whether a possible training effect would influence self-reported obsessive symptoms. Method: 20 patients with OCD underwent DL training for 3 weeks. Results: A significant improvement in DL-skills was seen, as well as the expected improvement in auditory Stroop effect. This improvement in executive functioning did however not influence self-reported OCD-symptoms. Conclusions: The results indicate that OCD symptoms may not be driven by a general deficit in executive functioning.
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