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The perception of self-produced sensory stimuli in patients with auditory hallucinations and passivity experiences: evidence for a breakdown in self-monitoring

Blakemore, S.J.; Smith, J.; Steel, R.; Johnstone, E.C.; Frith, C.D.; (2000) The perception of self-produced sensory stimuli in patients with auditory hallucinations and passivity experiences: evidence for a breakdown in self-monitoring. Psychological Medicine , 30 (5) pp.1131 - 1139. 10.1017/S0033291799002676. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: To test the hypothesis that certain psychotic symptomatology is due to a defect in self-monitoring, we investigated the ability of groups of psychiatric patients to differentiate perceptually between self-produced and externally produced tactile stimuli. METHODS: Responses to tactile stimulation were assessed in three groups of subjects: schizophrenic patients; patients with bipolar affective disorder or depression; and normal control subjects. Within the psychiatric groups subjects were divided on the basis of the presence or absence of auditory hallucinations and/or passivity experiences. The subjects were asked to rate the perception of a tactile sensation on the palm of their left hand. The tactile stimulation was either self-produced by movement of the subject's right hand or externally produced by the experimenter. RESULTS: Normal control subjects and those psychiatric patients with neither auditory hallucinations nor passivity phenomena experienced self-produced stimuli as less intense, tickly and pleasant than identical, externally produced tactile stimuli. In contrast, psychiatric patients with these symptoms did not show a decrease in their perceptual ratings for tactile stimuli produced by themselves as compared with those produced by the experimenter. This failure to show a difference in perception between self-produced and externally produced stimuli appears to relate to the presence of auditory hallucinations and/or passivity experiences rather than to the diagnosis of schizophrenia. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that auditory hallucinations and passivity experiences are associated with an abnormality in the self-monitoring mechanism that normally allows us to distinguish self-produced from externally produced sensations.

Type: Article
Title: The perception of self-produced sensory stimuli in patients with auditory hallucinations and passivity experiences: evidence for a breakdown in self-monitoring
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291799002676
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0033291799002676
Language: English
Additional information: © 2000 Cambridge University Press
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/4734
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