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Auditory verbal hallucinations: Social, but how?

Alderson-Day, B.; Fernyhough, C.

Auditory verbal hallucinations: Social, but how? Thumbnail



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.


Alderson-Day, B., & Fernyhough, C. (2016). Auditory verbal hallucinations: Social, but how?. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 23(7-8), 163-194

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jan 1, 2018
Journal Journal of Consciousness Studies
Print ISSN 1355-8250
Electronic ISSN 2051-2201
Publisher Imprint Academic
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 7-8
Pages 163-194
Publisher URL


Accepted Journal Article (Revised version) (659 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Revised version

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