In this new article by Frank Larøi, Neil Thomas, André Aleman, Charles Fernyhough, Sam Wilkinson, Felicity Deamer and Simon McCarthy-Jones, the authors explore the complexities of negative content in auditory-verbal hallucinations (AVH), taking into account its theoretical and clinical importance. Titled ‘The ice in voices: Understanding negative content in auditory-verbal hallucinations‘, this paper – published in Clinical Psychology Review and freely available online – offers a definition of negative voice content and considers possible causes for the experience.

A full abstract is available below:

Negative voice-content is the best sole predictor of whether the hearer of an auditory-verbal hallucination will experience distress/impairment necessitating contact with mental health services. Yet, what causes negative voice-content and how interventions may reduce it remains poorly understood. This paper offers a definitions of negative voice content and considers what may cause negative voice-content. We propose a framework in which adverse life-events may underpin much negative voice-content, a relation which may be mediated by mechanisms including hypervigilance, reduced social rank, shame and self-blame, dissociation, and altered emotional processing. At a neurological level, we note how the involvement of the amygdala and right Broca’s area could drive negative voice-content. We observe that negative interactions between hearers and their voices may further drive negative voice-content. Finally, we consider the role of culture in shaping negative voice-content. This framework is intended to deepen and extend cognitive models of voice-hearing and spur further development of psychological interventions for those distressed by such voices. We note that much of the relevant research in this area remains to be performed or replicated. We conclude that more attention needs to be paid to methods for reducing negative voice-content, and urge further research in this important area.

The paper can be found here.

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