Hearing a voice in the noise: Auditory hallucinations and speech perception

Journal article


Vercammen, Ans, de Haan, Edward H.F. and Aleman, Andre. (2008). Hearing a voice in the noise: Auditory hallucinations and speech perception. Psychological Medicine. 38(8), pp. 1177 - 1184. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291707002437
AuthorsVercammen, Ans, de Haan, Edward H.F. and Aleman, Andre
Abstract

It has recently been suggested that auditory hallucinations are the result of a criterion shift when deciding whether or not a meaningful signal has emerged. The approach proposes that a liberal criterion may result in increased false-positive identifications, without additional perceptual deficit. To test this hypothesis, we devised a speech discrimination task and used signal detection theory (SDT) to investigate the underlying cognitive mechanisms. Schizophrenia patients with and without auditory hallucinations and a healthy control group completed a speech discrimination task. They had to decide whether a particular spoken word was identical to a previously presented speech stimulus, embedded in noise. SDT was used on the accuracy data to calculate a measure of perceptual sensitivity (Az) and a measure of response bias (β). Thresholds for the perception of simple tones were determined. Compared to healthy controls, perceptual thresholds were higher and perceptual sensitivity in the speech task was lower in both patient groups. However, hallucinating patients showed increased sensitivity to speech stimuli compared to non-hallucinating patients. In addition, we found some evidence of a positive response bias in hallucinating patients, indicating a tendency to readily accept that a certain stimulus had been presented. Within the context of schizophrenia, patients with auditory hallucinations show enhanced sensitivity to speech stimuli, combined with a liberal criterion for deciding that a perceived event is an actual stimulus.

Keywordsauditory hallucination; sschizophrenia; signal detection theory (sdt); speech perception
Year2008
JournalPsychological Medicine
Journal citation38 (8), pp. 1177 - 1184
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN0033-2917
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291707002437
Page range1177 - 1184
Place of publicationUnited States of America
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