Obsessive-compulsive disorder as a disturbance of security motivation

Psychol Rev. 2004 Jan;111(1):111-27. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.111.1.111.


The authors hypothesize that the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), despite their apparent nonrationality, have what might be termed an epistemic origin--that is, they stem from an inability to generate the normal "feeling of knowing" that would otherwise signal task completion and terminate the expression of a security motivational system. The authors compare their satiety-signal construct, which they term yedasentience, to various other senses of the feeling of knowing and indicate why OCD-like symptoms would stem from the abnormal absence of such a terminator emotion. In addition, they advance a tentative neuropsychological model to explain its underpinnings. The proposed model integrates many previous disparate observations and concepts about OCD and embeds it within the broader understanding of normal motivation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Animals
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Knowledge
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation*
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder / psychology*
  • Reality Testing
  • Satiety Response*