OCD Not Linked With Superior IQ In Recent Meta-Study


Although some people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may be highly intelligent, a new study indicates OCD sufferers do not generally have superior IQs.

Sigmund Freud popularized the myth that OCD and high IQ are linked, but researchers from three universities came to a different conclusion.

“Although this myth was never studied empirically until now, it is still a widely held belief among mental-health professionals, OCD sufferers and the general public,” says Dr. Gideon Anholt, a senior lecturer in Ben Gurion University's Department of Psychology.

A meta-analysis of all available literature comparing OCD individuals with non-OCD controls, a total of 98 studies, showed that OCD is not associated with greater IQ. Instead, it is associated with normative IQ slightly below that of the control individuals. The investigators point out the slightly lower IQ scores of OCD sufferers might be owed to OCD-related slowness, not intellectual capacity.

OCD-related slowness refers to the doubt, perfectionism (getting things “just right”), and repetitive behaviors that affect concentration, and increase the time it takes for OCD sufferers to complete tasks.

“Future IQ assessments of individuals with OCD should focus on verbal and not performance IQ—a score heavily influenced by slowness,” say the study's authors.

The researchers also suggest that TV programs such as “Monk,” depicting a detective with OCD and superior crime solving abilities, likely strengthen the notion that OCD is a disorder of the more intellectually gifted. This notion - that there are advantages to having OCD - may diminish some people’s motivation to seek treatment.

Besides Ben-Gurion University, the research team was associated with Texas State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Source: Science Daily; WSPS
Photo credit: affen alife

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