Core Features

Study Information

This study is recruiting healthy adults (individuals with no psychiatric conditions) as well as individuals who have clinical symptoms.

Two core features of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety disorders are harm avoidance (the urge to have a thought or perform a behavior to prevent something bad from happening to oneself or others) and incompleteness (the need to have a thought or action ‘just right’ or perfect). These are underlying motivations that affect the behavior of those with OCD and anxiety disorders.

Researchers of the Core Features study aim to better understand these underlying motivations and how they relate to brain circuitry. The Core Features study will utilize interviews, self-report questionnaires, computerized tasks, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to better explain these concepts as they relate to OCD and anxiety disorders. The information collected will allow for a greater understanding of how OCD and anxiety disorders affect the brain, which could potentially lead to the development of more effective treatments for these disorders.

Why should I join the study? By joining this study, healthy adults as well as individuals who have OCD, panic disorder, social phobia, compulsive hoarding, or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder can contribute to research that will help improve our understanding of these disorders and how they affect the brain. Through a brief series of sessions and one imaging test, participants have the potential to impact this crucial field of study.

What will happen if I join the study? Participation in this study involves an initial screening visit to verify eligibility in addition to completion of interviews, questionnaires, computerized tasks, and one MRI scan. Eligible individuals may be asked to return to Butler Hospital for a follow-up assessment (interview and questionnaires) one and two years after the initial visits.

How long will the research last? The study will take place over a three-year period, and may consist of a total of five visits. Each visit will last approximately one to four hours.

Eligibility Criteria 

You may be eligible to participate in this study if:
  • You are between the ages of 18 and 65.
  • You have obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, compulsive hoarding, or obsessive compulsive personality disorder.
Or if:
  • You are a healthy adult (no psychiatric diagnosis) between the ages of 36 and 65.


Participants are compensated for their time, up to $100 for each study visit. Eligible individuals who complete all study procedures will be compensated $500.

Meet the Team

Steven Rasmussen, MD, primary principal investigator
Christina Boisseau, PhD, co-investigator
Maria Mancebo, PhD, co-investigator
Sarah Garnaat, PhD, co-investigator

Butler Hospital

Area of Study
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Recruitment Status

Contact Form

If you are interested in learning more about the Core Features study please call (401) 455-6682 or (401) 455-6541. You may also fill out the form below and a staff member can contact you by phone.