Continuities and discontinuities in the cognitive mechanisms associated with clinical and non-clinical auditory verbal hallucinations

Peter Moseley*, Ben Alderson-Day, Stephanie Common, Guy Dodgson, Rebecca Lee, Kaja Mitrenga, Jamie Moffatt, Charles Fernyhough

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are typically associated with schizophrenia but also occur in individuals without any need for care (non-clinical voice-hearers; NCVH). Cognitive models of AVH posit potential biases in source monitoring, top-down processes, or a failure to inhibit intrusive memories. However, research across clinical/non-clinical groups is limited, and the extent to which there may be continuity in cognitive mechanism across groups, as predicted by the psychosis continuum hypothesis, is unclear. We report two studies in which voice-hearers with psychosis (n = 31) and NCVH participants reporting regular spiritual voices (n = 26) completed a battery of cognitive tasks. Compared to non-voice-hearing groups (n = 33 and 28), voice-hearers with psychosis showed atypical performance on signal detection, dichotic listening, and memory inhibition tasks, but intact performance on the source monitoring task. NCVH participants, however, only showed atypical signal detection, suggesting differences between clinical and non-clinical voices potentially related to attentional control and inhibition. These findings suggest that, at the level of cognition, continuum models of hallucinations may need to take into account continuity, but also discontinuity, between clinical and non-clinical groups.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Psychological Science
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Sep 2021

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