Voice identity discrimination and hallucination-proneness in healthy young adults: a further challenge to the continuum model of psychosis?

S. Chhabra, Johanna Badcock, Murray Maybery, Doris Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
274 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction. Auditory hallucinations occur in schizophrenia and also in the general population. However, evidence points to differences in the nature and the mechanisms of clinical and non-clinical hallucinations, challenging the dominant assumption that they represent the same phenomenon. The current study extended this evidence by examining voice identity perception in hallucination-prone individuals. In schizophrenia, deficiencies discriminating between real (external) voices have been linked to basic acoustic cues, but voice discrimination has not yet been investigated in nonclinical hallucinations.

Methods. Using a task identical to that employed in patients, multidimensional scaling of voice dissimilarity judgements was used to examine how healthy individuals differing in hallucination-proneness (30 high and 30 low hallucination-prone individuals) distinguish pairs of unfamiliar voices. The resulting dimensions were interpreted with reference to acoustic measures relevant to voice identity.

Results. A two-dimensional “voice space”, defined by fundamental frequency (F0) and formant dispersion (Df), was derived for high and low hallucination-prone groups. There were no significant differences in speaker discrimination for high versus low hallucination-prone individuals on the basis of either F0 or Df.

Conclusions. These findings suggest voice identity perception is not impaired in healthy individuals predisposed to hallucinations, adding a further challenge to the continuum model of psychotic symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-318
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Volume19
Issue number4
Early online date16 Dec 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

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