Cognitive and neural processes in non-clinical auditory hallucinations

Emma Barkus, John Stirling, Richard Hopkins, Shane McKie, Shôn Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: The nosological status of auditory hallucinations in non-clinical samples is unclear.

AIMS: To investigate the functional neural basis of non-clinical hallucinations.

METHOD: After selection from 1206 people, 68 participants of high, medium and low hallucination proneness completed a task designed to elicit verbal hallucinatory phenomena under conditions of stimulus degradation. Eight subjects who reported hearing a voice when none was present repeated the task during functional imaging.

RESULTS: During the signal detection task, the high hallucination-prone participants reported a voice to be present when it was not (false alarms) significantly more often than the average or low participants (P<0.03, d.f.=2). On functional magnetic resonance imaging, patterns of activation during these false alarms showed activation in the superior and middle temporal cortex (P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Auditory hallucinatory experiences reported in non-clinical samples appear to be mediated by similar patterns of cerebral activation as found during hallucinations in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalThe British journal of psychiatry. Supplement
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


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