Hearing Voices: A Special Twitter Chat @MHChat

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What do we know about hearing voices?’ – A Special  Twitter Chat @MHChat with Durham University’s @hearingvoice

Public perception is that hearing voices when no one is speaking is always a symptom of severe mental illness, but it can also be an important aspect of many ordinary people’s lives, including those who do not seek psychiatric help.

Researchers from Durham University’s Hearing the Voice project, supported by the Wellcome Trust, are combining insights from cognitive neuroscience, cultural studies, English literature, medical humanities, philosophy, psychiatry, psychology and theology in order to create a space for a new kind of inquiry into voice-hearing – one that moves away from viewing hearing voices only as a symptom of pathology and instead asks what the experience is like, how it arises and what it means.

The team, led by Professor Charles Fernyhough and Dr Angela Woods, works closely with clinicians, mental health professionals, voice-hearers and advocacy groups such as Intervoice and the Hearing Voices Network.

One of the key objectives of the project is to raise public awareness, combat stigma and discrimination, and challenge preconceived opinions about voice-hearing.

To this end, in collaboration with @Wellcometrust and @mosaicscience@hearingvoice will be joining @MHChat for a special twitter chat aimed at exploring a wide range of questions relating to the experience of hearing voices. These include:

  1. How accurate is the association between hearing voices and mental illness such as schizophrenia and psychosis?
  2. Can hearing voices be a positive experience?
  3. What is it like to hear voices? What kinds of bodily sensations, moods and emotions are associated with the experience?
  4. What is the relationship between our inner voice (i.e what psychologists call ‘inner speech’) and voice-hearing?
  5. Is there a link between hearing voices and memories of past trauma such as bullying, neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse?
  6. What happens in the brain when someone is hearing voices?
  7. How does the representation of voice-hearing vary across different historical, religious and cultural contexts?
  8. Is there a link between hearing voices and literary creativity?
  9. What kinds of sources of help and support are available for people who find their voices distressing?

Therefore, on Wednesday (21 January 2015) we will explore these and other related questions @MHChat.

If you have a question about voice-hearing, please do join in the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #MHChat.

Date: Wednesday 21 January 2015

Time: 8:00 PM GMT / 3:00 PM EST

Join and share your views, experiences and insights relating to hearing voices @MHChat.

More information about voice-hearing and Hearing the Voice research can be found at the links below.

Media coverage and related articles:

‘Inner voices – a series that examines the medical, spiritual and literary aspects of hearing voices’, The Guardian, August 2014

‘Hearing Voices in our heads is more common than we think’, The Metro, Tuesday 12 November 2013

Hearing the Voice’ by Charles Fernyhough, The Lancet, September 2014.


Voices in the Dark: An Audio Story’ – A podcast produced by Mosaic, the Wellcome Trust’s online science magazine.

BBC Academy Podcast: ‘How Writers Create Characters’

Hearing the Voice Prezi



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