New Evidence of Hearing Voices Created by One's Brain?

Discussion of Julian Jaynes's second hypothesis - that before the development of consciousness, humans operated under a previous mentality called the bicameral mind.
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Mike Finch
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New Evidence of Hearing Voices Created by One's Brain?

Post by Mike Finch »

The Lancet (Vol. 370, p.538) has an interesting piece about hearing voices created in one's brain. The recent issue of the New Scientist (#2617, 18 August 2007, page 16) summarizes it thus:
A SWISS woman who fell off her bicycle has yielded a unique insight into how auditory hallucinations are generated.

The woman suffered damage to the part of the brain where speech is generated and could speak only in short, stunted words and sentences. Five months later, when she suddenly developed epilepsy, she began "hearing" voices with the same speech impediments as herself.

"She initially heard her own voice speaking aloud, then the voices of hospital staff," says Daniela Hubl at the University Hospital of Psychiatry in Bern, Switzerland, a member of the team that treated her. "They had the same speech impediments as she did. It proves that the voices were generated in the language areas of the patient's own brain." The hallucinations disappeared when the woman received drugs to control her epilepsy (The Lancet, Vol. 370, p 538).

Hubl believes the case is unique and supports more strongly than ever the scientific consensus that "voices" and other hallucinations experienced by people with conditions like schizophrenia are generated within their own brains.
[From issue 2617 of New Scientist magazine, 18 August 2007, page 16 ... iment.html]

-- Mike
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Thanks for posting this. It's interesting to see all of these new studies coming out that support Jaynes's neurological model.

I found the last line of that article a little surprising. It's hard for me to believe there are still people that believe voices would come from anywhere other than one's own brain but I guess there are (other than the people that hear the voices themselves of course — they often interpret their voices as coming from outside themselves).

I think this just shows the incredible psychological power of the religious impulse and the societal conditioning to believe in otherwordly entities — vestiges of the bicameral mind still acting on us today.
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