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Who Sees Trees before Forest? The Obsessive-Compulsive Style of Visual Attention

Iftah Yovel, William Revelle and Susan Mineka
Psychological Science
Vol. 16, No. 2 (Feb., 2005), pp. 123-129
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064188
Page Count: 7
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Who Sees Trees before Forest? The Obsessive-Compulsive Style of Visual Attention
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Abstract

It has been suggested that individuals with obsessive-compulsive personalities tend to focus on small local details in their surroundings, whereas histrionic individuals are characterized by more global information processing. Using the global-local hierarchical-letters paradigm, we were able to provide support for the first but not the second hypothesis. Measures related to obsessive-compulsive personality disorder were associated with excessive visual attention to small details of the hierarchical letters. Specifically, the obsessive-compulsive cognitive style was associated with local interference, which reflects the effects of distraction by to-be-ignored small details on identification of global information.

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