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Department of Psychology


Publication details for Professor Charles Fernyhough

Langdon, R., Jones, S. R., Connaughton, E. & Fernyhough, C. (2009). The phenomenology of inner speech: Comparison of schizophrenia patients with auditory verbal hallucinations and healthy controls. Psychological Medicine 39(4): 655-663.

Author(s) from Durham


Background Despite the popularity of inner-speech theories of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs), little is known about the phenomenological qualities of inner speech in patients with schizophrenia who experience AVHs (Sz-AVHs), or how this compares to inner speech in the non-voice-hearing general population.
Method We asked Sz-AVHs (n=29) and a non-voice-hearing general population sample (n=42) a series of questions about their experiences of hearing voices, if present, and their inner speech.
Results The inner speech reported by patients and controls was found to be almost identical in all respects. Furthermore, phenomenological qualities of AVHs (e.g. second- or third-person voices) did not relate to corresponding qualities in inner speech.
Conclusions No discernable differences were found between the inner speech reported by Sz-AVHs and healthy controls. Implications for inner-speech theories of AVHs are discussed.