Auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia as aberrant lateralized speech perception: Evidence from dichotic listening

Research Area: Research Year: 2012
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: Auditory hallucinations; Schizophrenia; Dichotic listening; Speech processing; Left hemisphere; Perceptual model; Lateralization
Authors: Hugdahl, Kenneth; Løberg, Else-Marie; Falkenberg, Liv Eggset; Johnsen, Erik; Kompus, Kristiina; Kroken, R. A.; Nygård, Merethe; Westerhausen, Rene; Alptekin, Koksal; Özgören, Murat
We report evidence that auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) in schizophrenia patients are perceptual distortions lateralized to the left hemisphere. We used a dichotic listening task with repeated presentations of consonant–vowel syllables, a different syllable in the right and left ear. This task produces more correct reports for the right ear syllable in healthy individuals, indicative of left hemisphere speech processing focus. If AVHs are lateralized to the left hemisphere language receptive areas, then this should interfere with correct right ear reports in the dichotic task, which would result in significant negative correlations with severity of AVHs. We correlated the right and left ear correct reports with the PANSS hallucination symptom, and a randomly selected negative symptom, in addition to the sum total of the positive and negative symptoms, in 160 patients with schizophrenia. The results confirmed the predictions with significant negative correlations for the right ear scores with the PANSS hallucination item, and for the sum total of positive symptoms, while all other correlations were close to zero. The results are unambiguous evidence for AVHs as aberrant speech perceptions originating in the left hemisphere.
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