Cognitive dysfunction underlying auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia: a combined-deficits model

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Auditory hallucinations are some of the most distressing and disabling symptoms of schizophrenia. However very little is known about the exact processes responsible for auditory hallucinations. The aim of this thesis is to provide a new perspective on the nature of the cognitive deficits underlying auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia. As a preliminary study to the investigation of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia, a factor analysis of a measure of hallucinatory predisposition, the Launay- Slade Hallucination Scale-Revised (Bentall & Slade, 1985), was carried out on data from a large sample of undergraduate students (N = 562). An overlap in characteristics between hallucinatory-like experiences in normal individuals and auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia should draw attention to factors that are important to the hallucinatory experience in general. One of the findings from this study was that intrusiveness is a commonly reported characteristic of hallucinatory-like experiences in normal individuals. Intrusiveness is also one of the defining features of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia. Since the process of inhibition is essential for suppressing unwanted thoughts, the first set of two studies using patients with schizophrenia (N = 43) investigated the presence of an (intentional) inhibition failure in auditory hallucinations using the Hayling Sentence Completion Test (HSCT; Burgess & Shallice, 1996) and the Inhibition of Currently Irrelevant Memories Task (ICIM; Schnider & Ptak, 1999). It was found that auditory hallucinations were linked to a deficit in intentional inhibition as measured by these tasks. The process of inhibition was further investigated using the Affective Shifting task, but auditory hallucinations were not associated with a deficit on this task. Possible differences in the inhibitory demands of the HSCT, ICIM and Affective Shifting tasks are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2004


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