Hypotheses and Theory of Misophonia

Dozier, in press, Etiology, composition, development and maintenance of misophonia, A conditioned aversive reflex disorder

Citation: Dozier, in press, Etiology, composition, development and maintenance of misophonia, A conditioned aversive reflex disorder.

This article has been accepted (as of 3/9/15) by Psychological Thought and should be included in the next issue.

Abstract:
Misophonia is a recently identified condition in which an individual has an acute reaction of hatred or disgust to a specific commonly occurring sound. We propose that misophonia is a form of conditioned behavior that develops as a physical reflex through classical conditioning. Although misophonia is generally considered to be a one-step reaction, in which the sound elicits rage or disgust, as well as typical autonomic responses associated with these emotions, we propose that misophonia is a two-step reaction, in which the sound elicits an aversive conditioned physical reflex, and the aversive conditioned physical reflex elicits hatred or disgust. We also propose that the emotional response to trigger stimuli creates a classical conditioning paradigm that maintains or strengthens the misophonic physical reflex. Finally, we propose that new misophonic trigger stimuli are developed through the pairing of a neutral stimulus with a misophonic trigger stimulus. We suggest that a better name for misophonia is Conditioned Aversive Reflex Disorder (CARD) since it focuses attention on the reflexive nature of this condition and incorporates multiple stimuli modalities. A counterconditioning treatment for misophonia is presented with brief case descriptions which demonstrate the conditioned reflex nature of this disorder.

FIGURES:

Traditional view of misophonia.

Traditional view of misophonia.

Misophonia as a physical (muscle) reflex to the trigger.

Misophonia as a physical (muscle) reflex to the trigger.

 This was Tom Dozier’s second journal article.  To see the first article, click here.