Beliefs about hearing voices

Michael H. Connors*, Serje Robidoux, Robyn Langdon, Max Coltheart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


People who experience auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) vary in whether they believe their AVHs are self-generated or caused by external agents. It remains unclear whether these differences are influenced by the "intensity" of the voices, such as their frequency or volume, or other aspects of their phenomenology. We examined 35 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who experienced AVHs. Patients completed a detailed structured interview about their AVHs, including beliefs about their cause. In response, 20 (57.1%) reported that their AVHs were self-generated, 9 (25.7%) were uncertain, and 6 (17.1%) reported that their AVHs were caused by external agents. Several analytical approaches revealed little or no evidence for associations between either AVH intensity or phenomenology and beliefs about the AVH's cause; the evidence instead favoured the absence of these associations. Beliefs about the cause of AVHs are thus unlikely to be explained solely by the phenomenological qualities of the AVHs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-101
Number of pages13
JournalConsciousness and cognition
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Auditory verbal hallucination
  • Belief
  • Delusion
  • Hallucination
  • Insight
  • Phenomenology
  • Psychosis

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