Why do we sometimes hear voices that do not exist? Science tried to explain this using a robot

Why do we sometimes hear voices that do not exist?  Science tried to explain this using a robot

Using a robot and a test divided into 3 stages, a group of Swiss researchers were able to deliberately induce hallucinations in completely healthy people, and discovered important information about the mechanisms that lead to the generation of these experiences in which the individual hears voices or sounds that are not real.


Because sometimes we hear things Voices even when They are not here? Blame it on diseases such as schizophrenia or others Disturbances Psychological: Yes, but Because it happens?

The mechanisms causing auditory hallucinations have always remained the same Secret to Sciences But today we may have inserted a new piece into the puzzle.

In a new study published in Psychiatrya team of researchers fromUniversity of Geneva He actually described basic data about the methods we follow brain He hears sounds that do not exist in reality.

They achieved this by exploiting A Robot To intentionally induce hallucinations Completely healthy people.

an experience Hearing unreal voices or soundsas I told you before, is more commonly associated with mental health-related problems, and more specifically, interruptions in the processes of… Self-monitoring From the brain.

In short, due to damage or abnormalities in its internal processes, the brain is no longer able to recognize the actions or thoughts it generates as its own, but rather sees them, specifically, as actions. Strangers.

To try to study how to stimulate these processes, researchers collaborated 48 participants In a study: Every right, French speakingWithout psychological or nervous disorders, they were all unaware of what they were about to do.

The scientists then recorded their voices as they spoke the words One syllable With negative connotations: This is because previous research has shown that auditory hallucinations often have negative content.

The recordings were then standardized to intensity And Duration From the sound that went on to form a group of Audio stimuli Which they then provided to the study subjects, along with audio recordings of anonymous individuals.

At this point the experiment began, divided into Three stages. First were the participants Blindfolded And while They moved a finger they came Touch yourself on the back By a robot specially designed for the study.

Sometimes the touch happens in sync with their movement, other times there is a slight delay 500 ms Enough to create Sensory conflict.

In the second phase, participants had to listen to a background noise and try to understand whether they recognized it voice or less. But in the last session, study participants had to take the hearing test from the previous stage together With phase 1, then with the robot touching them on their backs.

The researchers mainly wanted to try to understand whether touching would do this confusion sensory Which is believed to underlie auditory hallucinations.

The results confirmed the thesis. When the touch on the back was synchronized with finger movements, participants reported many more false alarms: that is, we heard more sounds that were not actually there. Timing of sensorimotor stimulationIn essence, it plays a crucial role, suggesting a link between sensory reactions to one’s actions and the development of auditory hallucinations.

Furthermore, false alarms were more frequent when participants heard the alarm sound His own voice Instead of someone else.

All this helps us in the end I understand better The brain mechanisms involved in auditory hallucinations at the same time represent the first step towards possible development Treatments For these Mental illness.

Source | “Automatically induced auditory-verbal hallucinations: Combining self-monitoring and powerful perceptual awareness” published October 2, 2023 in the journal Psychiatry

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