Resting-state EEG in schizophrenia: auditory verbal hallucinations are related to shortening of specific microstates

Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Jun;122(6):1179-82. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2010.10.042. Epub 2010 Nov 30.


Objective: Abnormal perceptions and cognitions in schizophrenia might be related to abnormal resting states of the brain. Previous research found that a specific class (class D) of sub-second electroencephalography (EEG) microstates was shortened in schizophrenia. This shortening correlated with positive symptoms. We questioned if this reflected positive psychotic traits or present psychopathology.

Methods: Resting-state EEGs of frequently hallucinating patients, indicating on- and offset of hallucinations by button press, were analyzed. Microstate class D duration was related to spontaneous within-subject fluctuations of auditory hallucinations.

Results: Microstate D was significantly shorter in periods with hallucinations.

Conclusions: Microstates of class D resemble topographies associated with error monitoring. Its premature termination may facilitate the misattribution of self-generated inner speech to external sources during hallucinations.

Significance: These results suggest that microstate D represents a biological state marker for hallucinatory experiences.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Brain Waves / physiology
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / diagnosis*
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Young Adult