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An experimental analysis of compulsive ordering and arranging Radomsky, Adam Scott


Compulsive ordering and arranging, and a preoccupation with symmetry have been documented within the context of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptomatology, but have not been examined experimentally. Three connected studies were conducted to examine this phenomenon, including the development of a self-report measure of this behaviour, the validation of this scale, and a test of anxiety provocation and memory in association with compulsive ordering and arranging. Results indicated that the self-report measure had good psychometric properties, and external validity. Also, participants who had a strong preference for order were made more anxious by having to complete a difficult task in a disorganized environment. Hypotheses about memory bias in association with this behaviour were not confirmed. Like other types of abnormal behaviour, these symptoms are likely extensions of normal and adaptive ordering and arranging behaviour. They are consistent with cognitive-behavioural conceptualizations of the disorder, however some aspects of this behaviour may not necessarily be reflected by current theory. Results are discussed in terms of the phenomenology of compulsive ordering and arranging, and its relationship to both OCD and normal human behaviour.

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