Left temporal lobe structural and functional abnormality underlying auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia

Research Area: Research Year: 2009
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: auditory hallucinations, schizophrenia, positive symptoms, dichotic listening, fMRI
Authors: Hugdahl, Kenneth; Løberg, E M; Nygård, M
In this article, we have reviewed recent findings from our laboratory, originally presented in Hugdahl et al. (2008). These findings reveal that auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia should best be conceptualized as internally generated speech mis-representations lateralized to the left superior temporal gyrus and sulcus, not cognitively suppressed due to enhanced attention to the ‘voices’ and failure of fronto-parietal executive control functions. An overview of diagnostic questionnaires for scoring of symptoms is presented together with a review of behavioral, structural, and functional MRI data. Functional imaging data have either shown increased or decreased activation depending on whether patients have been presented an external stimulus during scanning. Structural imaging data have shown reduction of grey matter density and volume in the same areas in the temporal lobe. We have proposed a model for the understanding of auditory hallucinations that trace the origin of auditory hallucinations to neuronal abnormality in the speech areas in the left temporal lobe, which is not suppressed by volitional cognitive control processes, due to dysfunctional fronto-parietal executive cortical networks.
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