Self-recognition Deficits in Schizophrenia Patients With Auditory Hallucinations: A Meta-analysis of the Literature

Flavie Waters, Todd Woodward, Paul Allen, Andre Aleman, Iris Sommers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Theories about auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia suggest that these experiences occur because patients fail to recognize thoughts and mental events as self-generated. Different theoretical models have been proposed about the cognitive mechanisms underlying auditory hallucinations. Regardless of the cognitive model being tested, however, experimental designs are almost identical in that they require a judgment regarding whether an action was self-originated or not. The aim of the current study was to integrate all available literature for a meta-analysis on this topic and reach conclusions about self-recognition performance in (1) patients with schizophrenia compared with healthy controls and (2) patients with auditory hallucinations compared with patients without these symptoms. A comprehensive literature review identified 23 studies that contrasted the performance of schizophrenia patients with healthy controls (1370 participants) and 9 studies that directly compared patients with and without auditory hallucinations (315 participants). We found significantly reduced self-recognition performance in schizophrenia patients, which was more pronounced in patients with auditory hallucinations compared with patients without. In patients with hallucinations, this pattern of performance was specific to self-recognition processes and not to the recognition of new external information. A striking finding was the homogeneity in results across studies regardless of the action modality, timing delay, and design used to measure self-recognition. In summary, this review of studies from the last 30 years substantiates the view that self-recognition is impaired in patients with schizophrenia and particularly those with auditory hallucinations. This suggests an association, perhaps a causal one, between such deficit and hallucinatory experiences in schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-750
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this