Quantitative meta-analysis on state and trait aspects of auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia

Schizophr Bull. 2012 Jun;38(4):779-86. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbq152. Epub 2010 Dec 22.


Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) have a high prevalence in schizophrenic patients. An array of studies have explored the neural correlates of AVHs by means of functional neuroimaging and have associated AVHs with diverse brain regions, some of which have been shown to be involved in speech generation, speech perception, and auditory stimulus processing. We divided these studies into "state" studies comparing periods of presence and absence of AVHs within-subject and "trait" studies comparing patients experiencing AVHs with patients without AVHs or healthy controls during tasks with verbal material. We set out to test the internal consistency and possible dissociations of the neural correlates of AVHs. We used activation likelihood estimation to perform quantitative meta-analyses on brain regions reported in state and trait studies on AVHs to assess significant concordance across studies. State studies were associated with activation in bilateral inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral postcentral gyrus, and left parietal operculum. Trait studies on the other hand showed convergence of decreases in hallucinating subjects in left superior temporal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, anterior cingulate cortex, and left premotor cortex activity. Based on the clear dissociation of brain regions that show convergence across state in comparison to trait studies, we conclude that the state of experiencing AVHs is primarily related brain regions that have been implicated in speech production ie, Broca's area, whereas the general trait that makes humans prone to AVHs seems to be related to brain areas involved in auditory stimuli processing and speech perception, ie, auditory cortex.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Perception
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiopathology
  • Hallucinations / etiology
  • Hallucinations / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Parietal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Speech Perception
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology