We’re changing the way people think about voice-hearing. Up to one in ten people hear voices no-one else can and one in 50 hear voices on a regular basis. It’s an experience commonly associated with distress, mental illness, and shame linked to social stigma.
Our Hearing the Voice project – drawn from research from across the University - is providing resources to help voice-hearers, their families and mental health professionals.
The team is also changing perceptions about voice-hearing by bringing their research to thousands across the world in exciting and innovative ways.
Increased awareness of voice-hearing
They’ve developed a free website offering accessible information and resources to improve the lives of voice-hearers and to increase awareness of voice-hearing.
Understanding Voices features personal experiences of voice-hearers who were also involved in developing the website, information on therapies, free research articles and sources of support.
They’ve also produced a new digital health intervention for the management of unusual sensory experiences (MUSE), now being used in mental health services across the North of England.
Our researchers have examined what voices are like and why they happen, and shed new light on the links between voices, ordinary self-talk, sensory perception, memory and creativity. They have explored the ways voices have been represented and interpreted in different historical periods, cultures, religious and spiritual traditions.
They also worked in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival on a five-year study of the voices “heard” by readers and writers of fiction.Their work has inspired a major touring exhibition on hearing voices, documentary film, theatre and a video game.
In 2020 their research won the Medical Humanities Award for Best Research, recognising outstanding research between the arts and humanities and medicine.
Find out more
- Hearing the Voice is led by Professor Charles Fernyhough (Principal Investigator) in our Department of Psychology, and Professor Angela Woods (Co-Director) in our Department of English Studies
- Understanding Voices is the project’s website for voice-hearers, families and health professionals. It contains comprehensive and accessible information about voice-hearing, including coping strategies and how to find support
- Watch the animation ‘What is hearing voices?’ produced by the researchers in close collaboration with people with lived experience
- Explore the Hearing Voices touring exhibition, the Writers’ Inner Voices website and see how Hearing the Voice research shaped the depiction of voices in the award-winning video game Hellblade: Senua’s sacrifice