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J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013 Apr;19(4):410-8. doi: 10.1017/S1355617712001476. Epub 2013 Jan 18.

Auditory hallucinations and reduced language lateralization in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of dichotic listening studies.

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Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.


Reduced left-hemispheric language lateralization has been proposed to be a trait marker for schizophrenia, but the empirical evidence is ambiguous. Recent studies suggest that auditory hallucinations are critical for whether a patient shows reduced language lateralization. Therefore, the aim of the study was to statistically integrate studies investigating language lateralization in schizophrenia patients using dichotic listening. To this end, two meta-analyses were conducted, one comparing schizophrenia patients with healthy controls (n = 1407), the other comparing schizophrenia patients experiencing auditory hallucinations with non-hallucinating controls (n = 407). Schizophrenia patients showed weaker language lateralization than healthy controls but the effect size was small (g = -0.26). When patients with auditory hallucinations were compared to non-hallucinating controls, the effect size was substantially larger (g = -0.45). These effect sizes suggest that reduced language lateralization is a weak trait marker for schizophrenia as such and a strong trait marker for the experience of auditory hallucinations within the schizophrenia population.

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