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Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Mar;156(3):393-9.

Selective speech perception alterations in schizophrenic patients reporting hallucinated "voices".

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., USA.



The authors tested a model of hallucinated "voices" based on a neural network computer simulation of disordered speech perception.


Twenty-four patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders who reported hallucinated voices were compared with 21 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders who did not report voices and 26 normal subjects. Narrative speech perception was assessed through use of a masked speech tracking task with three levels of superimposed phonetic noise. A sentence repetition task was used to assess grammar-dependent verbal working memory, and an auditory continuous performance task was used to assess nonlanguage attention.


Masked speech tracking task and sentence repetition performance by hallucinating patients was impaired relative to both nonhallucinating patients and normal subjects. Although both hallucinating and nonhallucinating patients demonstrated auditory attention impairments when compared to normal subjects, the two patient groups did not differ with respect to these variables.


Results support the hypothesis that hallucinated voices in schizophrenia arise from disrupted speech perception and verbal working memory systems rather than from nonlanguage cognitive or attentional deficits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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