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Psychopathology – OCD

3. Biological Explanations

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the biological factors which may be involved in causing OCD, focusing in particular on: (i) the role of genes, discussing two research studies which suggest that OCD is heritable and polygenic, i.e. caused by more than one gene; (ii) two further studies which provide evidence for the thesis that genetics are a factor in causing OCD, whilst also highlighting the importance of gene-environment interaction; (iii) the neural mechanisms associated with OCD, in particular, the role of serotonin and how the abnormal functioning of the frontal lobe area of the brain may be linked to impaired decision-making in those suffering from the condition.


In this course, Dr Emma Sharpe (University of Derby) explores obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental health condition characterised by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. In the first lecture, we think about how OCD can be defined and diagnosed. In the second lecture, we explore the behavioural, emotional and cognitive characteristics of the condition. In the third lecture, we examine the biological causes of OCD, looking in particular at genetic and neural explanations. Next, we think about how OCD can be treated, looking specifically at drug treatments. In the fifth lecture, we look at some key psychological treatments. In the sixth and final module, we conclude on some of the key points of discussion from the course.


Emma Sharpe graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from Loughborough University in 2011. Following this, she went on to complete both an MRes in 2012 and PhD in 2015. She joined the University of Derby as a lecturer in October 2015, having previously worked as a University Teacher at Loughborough University.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Sharpe, E. (2019, November 07). Psychopathology – OCD - Biological Explanations [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Sharpe, E. "Psychopathology – OCD – Biological Explanations." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Nov 2019,

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