Auditory hallucinations can occur in some people. A big question is why some people, both healthy people and suffering mental illness. A team of Yale Researchers team up with local psychics from Connecticut for this study. The researchers study is to try to answer why some people hear voices. This study is to get treatment for schizophrenics.

The process of the Study

In the process of this study, they develop a technique for inducing hallucinations, even it works in healthy people. This technique helps the study well.

Phillip Corlett and his collage Alvert Powers in this study wanted to locate people who hear voices but experience no other psychotic symptoms. To do so, the researchers turned to local community of psychics, Connecticut, through organization representing regional clairvoyants. They sought out some people who report hearing voices, include those who believe they are hearing spirit guides, dead relatives, guardian angel, and something like that.

For instance, one of the subjects, a middle age woman who works as a police dispatcher said that she occasionally hears voices that give her innocuous, helpful advice, such as direction to turn in traffic.

This study finally indicates that at least 4 % of general population hearing voice at some point in their live, even those who show no other symptoms of mental illness. Next, more than the 1 % of the global population suffer from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia doesn’t always involve auditory hallucinations.

The point of this study was a question : What is the brain actually doing, both in schizophrenics and healthy people? When it perceives sounds that aren’t there?

One possibility considered over the years is that the brain might lose its ability to cancel “inner speech”. This inner speech is like giving a new, persuasive realness to the voice-like thoughts most people perceive when they think in words.

Yet other study stated that hallucinations actually stem from an overdeveloped reliance on expectations. It is like the feeling that your phone rings for incoming message, in fact it was not an important message.

Corlett and Powers devised a study involving four groups of patients. The first group had schizophrenia or schizo-affective disorder, and they heard voices. The second one also had psychotic symptoms, but they didn’t hear voices. The third group heard voices, but they didn’t show any other psychotic symptoms. And the last group had no psychotic symptoms at all and none hears any voices.
All of the subjects in those groups went through at same experiment. They were shown a checkerboard visual stimulus that was occasionally accompanied by a tone.

The unique part of this study, Corlett and Powers were able to make all subjects in groups believe that they had heard the tone even if they had only seen the checkerboard. It means that all the subjects can be made to hallucinate.

The result of the study is much easier to do in the two groups of people who report hearing voices (both those who have schizophrenia and those who don’t).

Corlett said that people started to believe that they heard tones that we had not presented them with when they saw the checkerboard, and particularly the people who heard voices in their mind. Corlett add that people who experienced hallucinations in their everyday lives were five times more likely to show the effect than people who didn’t hallucinate.

The Result of The Study

This study presented evidences that auditory hallucinations arise for some people when people’s brain puts an out-of-proportion emphasis on what it expects will happen.

Power said that hallucinations appeared to arise from an over-weighting of our expectations, if so that suggested future treatment might arise from studying the brain’s cholinergic system, which was thought to be involved in wakefulness and alertness.

Corlett add that the most striking thing to him about this study was how easy it was to engender hallucinations in people in the lab, he thought it spoke to the fragility of something all of us consider quite robust; our perception.

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