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Modality specific neural correlates of auditory and somatic hallucinations


Somatic hallucinations occur in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, although auditory hallucinations are more common. Although the neural correlates of auditory hallucinations have been described in several neuroimaging studies, little is known of the pathophysiology of somatic hallucinations. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to compare the distribution of brain activity during somatic and auditory verbal hallucinations, occurring at different times in a 36 year old man with schizophrenia. Somatic hallucinations were associated with activation in the primary somatosensory and posterior parietal cortex, areas that normally mediate tactile perception. Auditory hallucinations were associated with activation in the middle and superior temporal cortex, areas involved in processing external speech. Hallucinations in a given modality seem to involve areas that normally process sensory information in that modality.

  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • auditory hallucinations
  • somatic hallucinations

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