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A Preliminary Investigation into the Existence of a Hypervigilance Subtype of Auditory Hallucination in People with Psychosis

  • Lucy Garwood (a1), Guy Dodgson (a2), Vicki Bruce (a3) and Simon McCarthy-Jones (a4)


Background: The phenomenological heterogeneity of auditory hallucinations (AHs) means individual models struggle to account for all aspects of the experience. One alternative is that distinct subtypes of AHs exist, with each requiring their own unique explanatory model and tailored cognitive behavioural intervention strategies. Aims: This exploratory study tested for the presence of one specific potential AH-subtype, hypervigilance hallucinations (HV-AHs). Method: Four specific aspects of the phenomenology of AHs (chosen on the basis of the predicted phenomenology of HV-AHs) were assessed using a semi-structured interview in 32 individual AHs taken from reports from 15 patients with psychosis. Results: Cluster analysis (at the level of the individual AH-experience) offered support for the existence of a distinct HV-AH subtype, characterized by hearing threatening, externally-located voices when attention was externally-focused. Other clusters identified all shared the contrasting properties of occurring in quiet contexts when patients’ attention was internally focused. Conclusions: The results offered tentative support for the existence of an HV-AH subcategorization and justifies future research in larger samples. Potential implications for models of AHs are also considered.


Corresponding author

Reprint requests to Simon McCarthy-Jones, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2109, Australia. E-mail:


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A Preliminary Investigation into the Existence of a Hypervigilance Subtype of Auditory Hallucination in People with Psychosis

  • Lucy Garwood (a1), Guy Dodgson (a2), Vicki Bruce (a3) and Simon McCarthy-Jones (a4)
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