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Auditory verbal hallucinations : social, but how?

Alderson-Day, B. and Fernyhough, C. (2016) 'Auditory verbal hallucinations : social, but how?', Journal of consciousness studies., 23 (7-8). pp. 163-194.


Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are experiences of hearing voices in the absence of an external speaker. Standard explanatory models propose that AVH arise from misattributed verbal cognitions (i.e. inner speech), but provide little account of how heard voices often have a distinct persona and agency. Here we review the argument that AVH have important social and agent-like properties and consider how different neurocognitive approaches to AVH can account for these elements, focusing on inner speech, memory, and predictive processing. We then evaluate the possible role of separate social-cognitive processes in the development of AVH, before outlining three ways in which speech and language processes already involve socially important information, such as cues to interact with others. We propose that when these are taken into account, the social characteristics of AVH can be explained without an appeal to separate social-cognitive systems.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Date accepted:26 November 2015
Date deposited:29 November 2017
Date of first online publication:01 January 2016
Date first made open access:01 January 2018

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