Self-voice perception and its relationship with hallucination predisposition
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Introduction: Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a core symptom of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia but are also reported in 10-15% of the general population. Impairments in self-voice recognition are frequently reported in schizophrenia and associated with the severity of AVH, particularly when the self-voice has a negative quality. However, whether self-voice processing is also affected in nonclinical voice hearers remains to be specified. Methods: Thirty-five nonclinical participants varying in hallucination predisposition based on the Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale, listened to prerecorded words and vocalisations differing in identity (self/other) and emotional quality. In Experiment 1, participants indicated whether words were spoken in their own voice, another voice, or whether they were unsure (recognition task). They were also asked whether pairs of words/vocalisations were uttered by the same or by a different speaker (discrimination task). In Experiment 2, participants judged the emotional quality of the words/vocalisations. Results: In Experiment 1, hallucination predisposition affected voice discrimination and recognition, irrespective of stimulus valence. Hallucination predisposition did not affect the evaluation of the emotional valence of words/vocalisations (Experiment 2). Conclusions: These findings suggest that nonclinical participants with high HP experience altered voice identity processing, whereas HP does not affect the perception of vocal emotion. Specific alterations in self-voice perception in clinical and nonclinical voice hearers may establish a core feature of the psychosis continuum.