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Study: OCD Not Linked to Higher IQ

New research undercuts a widely held opinion that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is associated with a higher intelligence quotient (IQ).

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Texas State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill performed what is believed to be first analysis of existing data on the link between IQ and OCD sufferers verses the general population.

The authors tracked the origins of the myth to the French philosopher, physician, and psychologist Pierre Janet in 1903, but it was Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, who popularized the hypothesis in 1909.

Study findings appear in the Neuropsychology Review.

“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,” said Dr. Gideon Anholt, a senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Psychology.

The investigators conducted a meta-analysis of all the available literature on IQ in OCD samples versus non-psychiatric controls (98 studies). They found that contrary to the prevailing myth, OCD is not associated with superior IQ, but with normative IQ that is slightly lower compared to control samples.

The authors suggested that the small reduction in IQ scores in OCD sufferers may be largely attributed to OCD-related slowness and not to intellectual ability.

The popular misconception about OCD has been further promoted by TV programs like “Monk,” which show an individual with OCD using his superior intelligence to solve challenging mysteries.

Yet, such beliefs about OCD may facilitate the misconception that there are advantages associated with the disorder, potentially decreasing one’s motivation to seek professional help.

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

The research team also included Dr. Amitai Abromovich, Texas State University; Sagi Raveh-Gottfried, psychology department, BGU; Dr. Jonathan S. Abramowitz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Naama Hamo, Ruppin Academic Center, Israel.

Source: American Associates Ben-Gurion University of the Negev/EurekAlert

Study: OCD Not Linked to Higher IQ

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2017). Study: OCD Not Linked to Higher IQ. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 9, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2017/09/19/study-ocd-not-linked-to-higher-iq/126219.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Sep 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 19 Sep 2017
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.