Two systems for empathy in obsessive-compulsive disorder: mentalizing and experience sharing


Rev. Bras. Psiquiatr.




Objective: To investigate empathic abilities in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) compared to control subjects. OCD is characterized by persistent obsessions and compulsions. Previous studies have proposed specific emotion recognition deficits in patients with OCD. The ability to recognize emotion is part of the broad construct of empathy that incorporates mentalizing and experience-sharing dimensions. Methods: Twenty-four subjects with a diagnosis of OCD and 23 control subjects underwent empathic measures. Results: Patients with OCD compared to control subjects showed deficits in all mentalizing measures. They were incapable of understanding the mental and emotional states of other people. On the other hand, in the sharing experience measures, the OCD group was able to empathize with the emotional experience of other people when they expressed emotions with positive valence, but were not able to do when the emotional valence was negative. Conclusion: Our results suggest that patients with OCD show a difficulty in mentalizing ability, whereas the deficit in sharing ability is specific for the negative emotional valence.

Documentos Relacionados