Introduction: The cognitive neuropsychiatric approach to auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) attempts to explain the phenomena in cognitive or information-processing terms and ultimately their brain bases.
Methods: A narrative review of the literature and an overview of this special issue of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry.
Results: First, an operational definition of AVHs is offered. Next, clues to etiology are derived from a detailed consideration of the clinical phenomenology of "voices", their form and content. Functional and structural neuroimaging studies suggest the importance of left-side language areas in the generation/perception of AVHs.
Conclusions: Existing cognitive neuropsychiatric models provide a useful framework for the understanding of AVHs. However, data need to be applied more specifically to these models so that they may be refined.