Compliance with Command Hallucinations: The Role of Power in Relation to the Voice, and Social Rank in Relation to the Voice and Others

Nicky Reynolds, Peter Scragg, Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 2010, 21, 1, 121-138.

Abstract: This study examined three factors hypothesised which influence compliance to harm-others command hallucinations. The factors investigated were the perceived power of the commanding voice, participants’ perceived social rank in relation to the commanding voice and to the others. Thirty-two male participants were recruited from forensic services. Participants were identified as belonging to one of the two groups: compliers or resisters. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were administered to participants. Beliefs, that the commanding voice was more powerful than the self and of a higher social rank than the self, were associated with compliance. There were no significant differences between the two groups on perceptions of social rank in relation to others. The significant findings of this study can be understood in terms of the relationship an individual has with the commanding voice and which are congruent with cognitive models of hallucinations.