Assembling a useful set of pictures and words for OCD research

An online research study is being conducted at Queen's University Belfast with the aim of creating a valid set of pictures and words to be used in research on how individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) pay attention to objects or scenes that relate to their symptoms. The leading theory in OCD suggests that this process of paying attention is a key factor in maintaining and exacerbating the symptoms of people with OCD. The researchers hope that the current project will contribute towards developing new future treatments for OCD.

What will I have to do if I do want to take part?

This study is all online and consists of three surveys that can be carried out at your leisure.

The surveys ask you to answer some questions about yourself and to rate a series of images and words on how unpleasant, anxiety-provoking, upsetting and attention-grabbing they are. Each survey takes around 30-40 minutes to complete, and you are free to take breaks when you feel you need them at any time during the survey. The three surveys should all be completed within two weeks of finishing the first one. There are no images and words included in the study that you would not experience on TV or in everyday life. However, some of the images and words used in the study may cause you some distress. You are free to stop the study at any time by exiting the window without giving a reason.

For further information please feel free to email the lead researcher Rachel Johnston at who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Please follow the links below if you would like to take part in the study.

Survey 1 

Survey 2 

Survey 3 


Clinical Psychologists

Clinical Psychologists are also invited to take part in this study. The surveys are the same as those above with the addition of a few questions, based on your clinical experience treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, about how the images would provoke obsessions and compulsions.

Please follow the links below if you would like to take part in the study.

Survey 1 for Clinical Psychologists 

Survey 2 for Clinical Psychologists 

Survey 3 for Clinical Psychologists