Cognitive factors in predisposition to auditory and visual hallucinations


Department of Clinical Psychology, Mental Health Services of Salford, Bury New Road, Prestwich, Manchester M25 3BL, UK.


Objectives. This study adapted the Launay Slade Hallucination Scale (LSHS) to measure predisposition to auditory and visual hallucinations and examine the relationship between meta-cognition and predisposition in a non-psychiatric population. It also tested the hypothesis that individuals highly predisposed to hallucination would show positive and negative meta-cognitive beliefs and report the use of different thought control strategies.

Design. A within participants correlational design was employed.

Methods. A revised LSHS was administered to 105 normal participants who were also asked to complete questionnaires assessing paranoia, meta-cognitive beliefs, thought control strategies, anxiety, depression and beliefs about unusual perceptual experiences.

Results. Two empirically distinct but correlated hallucinatory traits (auditory and visual) were measured by the modified LSHS. Consistent with predictions, it was found that positive beliefs about unusual perceptual experiences were the best predictor of predisposition to auditory and visual hallucinations and that those participants who scored higher on predisposition to hallucination used different thought control strategies and had different negative meta-cognitive beliefs in comparison with participants of low predisposition.

Conclusions. Meta-cognitive beliefs about thoughts and hallucinatory phenomena appear to be implicated in predisposition to hallucination. The theoretical and clinical implications of the findings are discussed.