Image_1.jpeg (385.34 kB)
Download file


Download (385.34 kB)
posted on 2018-02-28, 04:18 authored by Jana Hansmeier, Cornelia Exner, Ulrike Zetsche, Andreas Jansen

Individuals suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have been found to show deficits in implicitly learning probabilistic associations between events. Neuroimaging studies have associated these implicit learning deficits in OCD individuals with aberrant activation of the striatal system. Recent behavioral studies have highlighted that probabilistic classification learning (PCL) deficits in OCD individuals only occur in a disorder-specific context, while PCL remains intact in a neutral context. The neural correlates of implicit learning in an OCD-specific context, however, have not yet been investigated. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging during a neutral (prediction of weather) and an OCD-specific variant (prediction of a virus epidemic) of a PCL paradigm, we assessed brain activity associated with implicit learning processes in 10 participants with OCD and 10 matched healthy controls. Regions of interest (ROIs) were the striatum and the medial temporal lobe. ROI analyses revealed a significantly higher activity in the bilateral putamen and the left hippocampus of OCD participants as compared to healthy controls during both PCL tasks. The group differences could partly be subsumed under a group × task interaction effect with OCD participants showing a significantly higher activity than healthy controls in the left putamen and the left hippocampus in the OCD-specific task variant only. These results suggest a compensation of aberrant striatal activity by an augmented engagement of the explicit memory system particularly in a disorder-relevant context in OCD participants.