The meanings and causes of hearing voices that others cannot hear (auditory verbal hallucinations, in psychiatric parlance) have been debated for thousands of years. Voice-hearing has been both revered and condemned, understood as a symptom of disease as well as a source of otherworldly communication. Those hearing voices have been viewed as mystics, potential psychiatric patients or simply just people with unusual experiences, and have been beatified, esteemed or accepted, as well as drugged, burnt or gassed. This book travels from voice-hearing in the ancient world through to contemporary experience, examining how power, politics, gender, medicine and religion have shaped the meaning of hearing voices. Who hears voices today, what these voices are like and their potential impact are comprehensively examined. Cutting edge neuroscience is integrated with current psychological theories to consider what may cause voices and the future of research in voice-hearing is explored.
- The most comprehensive history yet written on hearing voices, examining a 5000-year span from ancient times to the present day
- Provides a truly biopsychosocial understanding of the causes of hearing voices
- Looks forward to consider how voice-hearing may be understood in the future and what theories of its causes may look like
Part I. A History of Hearing Voices:
1. From Ancient Mesopotamia to the pre-Reformation world
2. Political voices: religion, medicine and hearing voices
3. From the birth of psychiatry to the present day
Part II. The Phenomenology and Lived Experience of Hearing Voices:
4. The phenomenology of hearing voices in people with psychiatric diagnoses
5. The lived experience of hearing voices in individuals diagnosed with a psychotic disorder: or, the journey from patient to non-patient
6. Beyond disorder: religious and cross-cultural perspectives
7. The phenomenology of hearing voices in people without psychiatric diagnoses
Part III. The Causes of Hearing Voices:
8. Neuroscience and hearing voices: it's the brain, stupid?
9. Neuropsychological models I: inner speech
10. Neuropsychological models II: memory and hypervigilance
11. The wound is peopled: from world to brain and back again
Part IV. The Meanings of Hearing Voices:
12. The struggle for meanings
Conclusion: moving towards new models of hearing voices
Appendix A: AVHs and antipsychotic medication
Simon McCarthy-Jones, Macquarie University, Sydney
Simon McCarthy-Jones is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Macquarie University's Centre for Cognitive Science, in Sydney, Australia.