Date of Award

January 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Thomas V. Petros


Recent research has paid special attention to the memory functioning and attentional abilities of individuals with Obsessive - Compulsive Disorder. The current study recruited 38 participants who possess a significant amount of obsessive - compulsive traits. From those 38 participants, 16 were identified as those whose primary OCD concerns were related to contamination fears, ten were identified as primarily compulsive checkers, and 12 were identified as possessing a significant amount of both contamination fear and compulsive checking symptoms. In addition, 38 participants who reported a low amount of OCD traits were recruited for the control group. Participants were administered a series of memory and attention tasks with neutral, threatening, and contamination related stimuli. A 4(Group) x 3(Word Type) mixed analyses of variance revealed that individuals who possess more specific OCD concerns may display a heightened initial memory bias towards contamination related information, potentially affecting the way those individuals attend to other information.