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The role of metacognitive beliefs in auditory hallucinations

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>06/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Personality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)1351-1363
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The mechanisms contributing to the occurrence of auditory hallucinations have not been fully described, although many researchers agree that they may result from some type of misattributed cognitive event. A number of authors have shown that this misattribution may be influenced by 'top down' processes such as beliefs and expectations. This type of cognitive bias has also been implicated in other psychological disorders. One area of focus, particularly within the anxiety disorders, has been on metacognitive beliefs and their role in the occurrence and maintenance of symptoms. Metacognitive beliefs have not been widely investigated in psychosis and tools to investigate them have not been developed. In this study, a metacognitions questionnaire [MCQ; Cartwright-Hatton, S., & Wells, A. (1997). Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 11(3),279-296.] (previously used with anxiety disorders) was modified and used to assess metacognitive beliefs with schizophrenic patients. Metacognitive beliefs were compared between schizophrenic patients who were currently experiencing auditory hallucinations and schizophrenic patients who had never had hallucinations. A group of patients with anxiety disorders and a group of non-patients were used as controls. Hallucinating and non-hallucinating schizophrenics scored significantly higher than both the nonpatient group and the anxiety patient group on the amount. to which they believed their thoughts should be consistent with each other. Hallucinators and anxiety controls had significantly lower confidence in their cognitive processes than non-hallucinating schizophrenics and normal controls. The significance of these findings are discussed in relation to the literature on cognitive processes in hallucinations. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.