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Modality-general and modality-specific processes in hallucinations

Fernyhough, C.

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There is a growing recognition in psychosis research of the importance of hallucinations in modalities other than the auditory. This has focused attention on cognitive and neural processes that might be shared by, and which might contribute distinctly to, hallucinations in different modalities. In this article, I address some issues around the modality-generality of cognitive and neural processes in hallucinations, including the role of perceptual and reality-monitoring systems, top-down and bottom-up processes in relation to the psychological and neural substrates of hallucinations, and the phenomenon of simultaneous multimodal hallucinations of the same entity. I suggest that a functional systems approach, inspired by some neglected aspects of the writings of A. R. Luria, can help us to understand patterns of hallucinatory experience across modalities and across clinical and non-clinical groups. Understanding the interplay between modality-general and modality-specific processes may bear fruit for improved diagnosis and therapeutic approaches to dealing with distressing hallucinations.


Fernyhough, C. (2019). Modality-general and modality-specific processes in hallucinations. Psychological Medicine, 49(16), 2639-2645.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Sep 18, 2019
Publication Date Dec 31, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 15, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2019
Journal Psychological Medicine
Print ISSN 0033-2917
Electronic ISSN 1469-8978
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 16
Pages 2639-2645


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (228 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © The Author(s) 2019. This is an Open Access
article, distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://, which
permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and
reproduction in any medium, provided the
original work is properly cited.

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