Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 26463879
Schizophr. Res. 2015 Dec;169(1-3):95-100
Brain imaging research in schizophrenia has provided a better understanding of the neural basis of auditory hallucinations (AH). Recently, renewed interest in the phenomenology of AH raised questions related to their neural substrates. Hence, the neural basis of AH self/other attribution have yet to be investigated as beliefs regarding the origin of the voices is a cardinal feature of AH phenomenology. As the right temporoparietal junction (TPJ) and the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) play a key role in disentangling the origin of sensory events and in self/other distinction, we tested the hypothesis that the morphology of the IPL/TPJ area may be involved in AH self/other attribution. Magnetic resonance images of 39 right-handed patients with persistent auditory hallucinations and 19 healthy subjects were analyzed with sulcus-based morphometry. AH self-other attribution were found to be associated with the sulcal pattern of the posterior part of the Sylvian fissure, encompassing the IPL/TPJ area. The preference for the attribution of AH to self or to others could be associated with early neurodevelopmental events as the sulcal pattern is determined during fetal life and is stable after birth. Our study also raises basic cognitive questions regarding self-consciousness and suggest that impairments at a pre-reflexive level, leading to hearing his/her thoughts as voices (‘I’ level or feeling of agency), and a reflexive level leading to attribution belief (‘Me’ level or judgment of agency) are likely involved in AH.