Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 10, 637

Reducing the Emotionality of Auditory Hallucination Memories in Patients Suffering From Auditory Hallucinations


Reducing the Emotionality of Auditory Hallucination Memories in Patients Suffering From Auditory Hallucinations

Suzy Johanna Martina Adriana Matthijssen et al. Front Psychiatry.


Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy targets emotionally disturbing visual memories of traumatic life events, and may be deployed as an efficacious treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder. A key element of EMDR therapy is recalling an emotionally disturbing visual memory while simultaneously performing a dual task. Previous studies have shown that auditory emotional memories may also become less emotional as a consequence of dual tasking. This is potentially beneficial for psychotic patients suffering from disturbing emotional auditory memories of auditory hallucinations. The present study examined whether and to what extent emotionality of auditory hallucination memories could be reduced by dual tasking. The study also assessed whether a modality matching dual task (recall + auditory taxation) could be more effective than a cross modal dual task (recall + visual taxation). Thirty-six patients suffering from auditory hallucinations were asked to recall an emotionally disturbing auditory memory related to an auditory hallucination, to rate emotionality of the memory, and to recall it under three conditions: two active conditions, i.e., visual taxation (making eye-movements) or auditory taxation (counting aloud), and one control condition (staring at a non-moving dot) counterbalanced in order. Patients re-rated emotionality of the memory after each condition. Results show the memory emotionality of auditory hallucinations was reduced and the active conditions showed stronger effects than the control condition. No modality-specific effect was found: the active conditions had an equal effect.

Keywords: auditory emotional memories; auditory hallucinations; eye movement desensitization and reprocessing; modality specific taxation; psychosis; working memory taxation.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Timeline of the procedure (SUD, Subjective Units of DisturbanceUD scores; VT, Visual Taxation; AT, Auditory Taxation; CC, Control Condition).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Pre- and post SUD scores per condition. Error bars depict +-1 S.E.M. (* = p < .05) (SUD, Subjective Units of Disturbance).

Similar articles

See all similar articles


    1. Waters F, Allen P, Aleman A, Fernyhough C, Woodward TS, Badcock JC, et al. Auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia and nonschizophrenia populations: a review and integrated model of cognitive mechanisms. Schizophr Bull (2012) 38(4):683–93. 10.1093/schbul/sbs045 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Van der Gaag M, Staring T, van den Berg D, Baas J. Gedachten uitpluizen: cognitief gedragstherapeutische protocollen bij psychotische klachten [Tinkering with thoughts: cognitive behavioural therapy for psychotic symptoms]. 3rd edn Oegstgeest: Stichting Cognitie en Psychose; (2013).
    1. Maijer K, Begemann MJH, Palmen SJMC, Leucht S, Sommer IEC. Auditory hallucinations across the lifespan: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychol Med (2018) 48(6): 879–88. 10.1017/S0033291717002367 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Sartorius N, Jablensky A, Korten A, Ernberg G, Anker M, Cooper JE, et al. Early manifestations and first-contact incidence of schizophrenia in different cultures: a preliminary report on the initial evaluation phase of the WHO Collaborative Study on Determinants of Outcome of Severe Mental Disorders. Psychol Med (1986) 16(4):909–28. 10.1017/S0033291700011910 - DOI - PubMed
    1. Thomas P, Mathur P, Gottesman II, Nagpal R, Nimgaonkar VL, Deshpande SN. Correlates of hallucinations in schizophrenia: a cross-cultural evaluation. Schizophr Res (2007) 92(1):41–9. 10.1016/j.schres.2007.01.017 - DOI - PMC - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources