BACKGROUND Deficits in sensorimotor gating have been hypothesized to underlie the inability to inhibit repetitive thoughts and behaviors. To test this hypothesis, this study assessed prepulse inhibition (PPI), a measure of sensorimotor gating, across three psychiatric disorders (obsessive-compulsive disorder [OCD], social anxiety disorder [SAD], and anorexia nervosa [AN]) whose clinical presentations include repetitive thoughts and behaviors METHODS We tested acoustic PPI in unmedicated individuals with OCD (n = 45), SAD (n = 37), and AN (n = 26), and compared their results to matched healthy volunteers (n = 62). All participants completed a structured clinical interview and a clinical assessment of psychiatric symptom severity. RESULTS Percent PPI was significantly diminished in females with OCD compared to healthy female volunteers (P = .039). No other differences between healthy volunteers and participants with disorders (male or female) were observed. Percent PPI was not correlated with severity of obsessions and compulsions, as measured by the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale. CONCLUSIONS This is the first study to assess PPI in participants with SAD or AN, and the largest study to assess PPI in participants with OCD. We found PPI deficits only in females with OCD, which suggests that the cortico-striato-pallido-thalamic and pontine circuitry (believed to underlie PPI) differs between males and females with OCD. Given that PPI deficits were only present in females with OCD and not related to repetitive thoughts and behaviors, our results do not support the hypothesis that sensorimotor gating deficits, as measured by PPI, underlie the inability to inhibit repetitive thoughts and behaviors in individuals with OCD, SAD, and AN.