Arousal and perceptual sensitivity in hypochondriacs

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Absolute auditory sensitivity and visual 2-flash fusion sensitivity were examined in 22 high- and 21 low-hypochondriasis (MMPI Hs scale and Whiteley Index, an attitude toward illness measure) scorers selected from a normal undergraduate population. Signal detection analysis was used for both the visual and auditory measures to separate the effects of criterion and actual sensitivity. Hypochondriacal Ss were significantly more sensitive on the 2-flash fusion task than nonhypochondriacal Ss. For the auditory experiment, the difference in sensitivity between hypochondriacal and nonhypochondriacal Ss was in the predicted direction but was not significant. Cluster analysis of the hypochondriasis items showed a cluster of items consistent with the concept of an arousal-based hypochondriasis. Analysis of the visual data showed this cluster to be a better predictor of visual 2-flash fusion sensitivity than the total hypochondriasis scale. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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