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Meredith E Coles

Associate Professor,

Dept. of Psychology

Binghamton University

Why cavemen checked their locks and other adventures in understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

April 27th, 2015

Academic Building A G008, 5:05 PM


Intrusive thoughts that occur unexpectedly, belief in superstitions that are logically unlikely and habits to always perform a behavior in a particular way are common. However, for individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) these types of experiences are overwhelming. OCD is associated with significant impairment and distress, increased rates of suicidal ideation and attempts, increased rates of divorce and a host of other negative consequences. The World Health Organization has ranked Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as one of the most impairing conditions in industrialized nations. Encouragingly, substantial progress in treating OCD has been made and cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication can substantially reduce symptoms for most patients. However, approximately 1/3 of patients do not respond to our current treatments and many more never access treatment. Therefore, more work remains.  This talk will provide an overview of OCD and the current status of the field. Then, recent work from our lab attempting to develop additional methods for reducing the burdens of OCD will be presented. Specifically. we will present research examining the potential role of disruptions in sleep duration and timing in the maintenance of OCD.  Finally, throughout the talk we will attempt to highlight the role of evolution as it may apply to OCD and related behaviors (e.g., superstition).


Dr. Coles is a professor of psychology at Binghamton University. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and fine arts from Dickinson College and her masters and doctoral degrees from Temple University. She joined the faculty at Binghamton in 2003 after completing her clinical internship at the Boston Consortium for Clinical Psychology/Boston VA Medical Center. Dr. Coles is an expert in the nature and treatment of anxiety disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and serves on the editorial board for several journals including the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Cognition and Emotion. Dr. Coles frequently reviews grant applications for the National Institute of Mental Health. She serves as a member of the scientific advisory board for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and has served on their Conference Planning Committee. For the past 10 years, Dr. Coles has served as the director of the Binghamton Anxiety Clinic which provides clinical services to children and adults from the community who are experiencing excessive anxiety. Dr. Coles received a SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities in 2015.


Reading will be posted to the EvoS blackboard group. Anyone with a Binghamton University email address can request to be added to the blackboard group by emailing EvoS[at]binghamton[dot]edu.


Rich Media Playback: https://bustream.binghamton.edu:8443/ess/echo/presentation/903bf0a8-0135-41ac-82ad-965575f5414c

Vodcast Playback: https://bustream.binghamton.edu:8443/ess/echo/presentation/903bf0a8-0135-41ac-82ad-965575f5414c/media.m4v

Podcast Playback: https://bustream.binghamton.edu:8443/ess/echo/presentation/903bf0a8-0135-41ac-82ad-965575f5414c/media.mp3

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