Cognitive mechanisms of auditory verbal hallucinations in psychotic and non-psychotic groups

Research Area: Research Year: 2012
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: auditory hallucinations; hallucination predisposition; schizophrenia; cognition
Authors: Badcock, Johanna C.; Hugdahl, Kenneth
The continuum model of psychosis has been extremely influential. It assumes that psychotic symptoms, such as auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH), are not limited to patients with psychosis but also occur in healthy, non-clinical individuals – suggesting similar mechanisms of origin. Recent debate surrounding this model has highlighted certain differences, as well as similarities, in the phenomenology of AVH in clinical and non-clinical populations. These findings imply that there may, in fact, be only partial overlap of the mechanism(s) involved in generating AVH in these groups. We review evidence of continuity or similarity, and dissimilarity, in cognitive, and related neural processes, underlying AVH in clinical and non-clinical samples. The results reveal some shared (intrusive cognitions, inhibitory deficits) and some distinct (aspects of source memory and cerebral lateralization) mechanisms in these groups. The evidence, therefore, supports both continuous and categorical models of positive psychotic symptoms. The review considers potential risks of uncritical acceptance of the continuum model and highlights some important methodological issues for future research.
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