Date of Award

December 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Han Joo Lee

Committee Members

Shawn P. Cahill, Christine Larson


CBM-I, Cognitive Bias Modification, Interpretation Training, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, Thought-Action Fusion


In obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), obsessions are in part caused by the belief that simply having a thought can increase the chance of an event occurring or represents a person’s morality. This phenomenon is Thought-Action-Fusion (TAF) and is common in OCD. Challenging these beliefs through Interpretation Training (IT) has been used in past research to modify negative interpretations, and lessen the distress and grief associated with them. The current study examined whether three sessions of computerized IT, challenging TAF obsessional thoughts, can impact TAF strength and OC symptoms. Thirty-nine non-clinical students were randomized to either: (1) an active condition (TAFMOD), where participants are presented with a sentence reducing the impact of the obsessional thoughts, or (2) a neutral condition (TAFMAN), in which a non-disconfirming sentence is provided. Among the primary outcomes, an interaction of group (TAFMOD vs TAFMAN) by time (pre-training to post-training) was non-significant, but there were significant reductions by time alone in TAF scores, OC symptoms, primary obsessions, and general anxiety and distress. Overall, the findings from the current study do not support a difference between groups as a result of training, but there did appear to be a general reduction of symptoms over time. Results of the study are discussed in terms of the cognitive theory of obsessional thoughts, and future research directions are suggested.