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Most People Have Unwanted Thoughts, International Study Finds

Difference for people with OCD is how they react, experts say

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By contrast, he said, someone without OCD might respond by thinking the thought was peculiar but go on with their day.

Why would evolution give humans the ability to have fearful and unwanted thoughts? It may have something to do with people's natural ability to multitask and "think all sorts of things," study author Radomsky said.

The study acknowledges several caveats that could affect the reliability of its findings.

For one, the surveys were taken in different countries with different cultures and languages, potentially making it hard to directly compare the responses. Also, the survey questions may not have turned up an accurate number of intrusive thoughts among the participants. And the study only looks at college students, not older or younger people.

The study authors call for more research to confirm the findings and discover how they compare with scientific theories about OCD.

The study appeared in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.

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