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Hearing Voices
The Histories, Causes and Meanings of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations


  • Date Published: October 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107682016

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About the Authors
  • The meanings and causes of hearing voices that others cannot hear (auditory verbal hallucinations, in psychiatric parlance) have been debated for thousands of years. Voice-hearing has been both revered and condemned, understood as a symptom of disease as well as a source of otherworldly communication. Those hearing voices have been viewed as mystics, potential psychiatric patients or simply just people with unusual experiences, and have been beatified, esteemed or accepted, as well as drugged, burnt or gassed. This book travels from voice-hearing in the ancient world through to contemporary experience, examining how power, politics, gender, medicine and religion have shaped the meaning of hearing voices. Who hears voices today, what these voices are like and their potential impact are comprehensively examined. Cutting edge neuroscience is integrated with current psychological theories to consider what may cause voices and the future of research in voice-hearing is explored.

    • The most comprehensive history yet written on hearing voices, examining a 5000-year span from ancient times to the present day
    • Provides a truly biopsychosocial understanding of the causes of hearing voices
    • Looks forward to consider how voice-hearing may be understood in the future and what theories of its causes may look like
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The book brings together contributions from biological and psychological research, and more originally, it documents the history of hearing voices and the meaning of such experiences. Dr McCarthy-Jones's book is grounded in scientific research and comprehensively researched historical material. The book is a real feast, and Dr McCarthy-Jones charms us with his lively narrative. The book will appeal to modern 'voice-hearers', clinicians, and scholars of auditory hallucinations.' Flavie Waters, University of Western Australia

    'Engaging and informative … for researchers and healthcare professionals, as well as voice hearers themselves.' The Psychologist

    'This book will bear re-reading. It is equally accessible to the specialist as to the generalist. There is a wealth of information, a keen examination of theory, a critical disposition, and above all it is interesting and engaging.' Femi Oyebode, British Journal of Psychiatry

    'This work invites the reader to consider and integrate evidence from history, neuroscience, psychology and voice-hearers: an endeavour which is made enjoyable by the engaging narrative and sometimes humorous commentary of the author throughout. McCarthy-Jones appears equally committed to thorough research, scientific evidence and the well-being of voice-hearers. This work is an indispensable resource for voice-hearers, carers, clinicians and researchers. Highly recommended.' Adele de Jager, Psychosis

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107682016
    • length: 470 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 2 b/w illus. 14 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. A History of Hearing Voices:
    1. From Ancient Mesopotamia to the pre-Reformation world
    2. Political voices: religion, medicine and hearing voices
    3. From the birth of psychiatry to the present day
    Part II. The Phenomenology and Lived Experience of Hearing Voices:
    4. The phenomenology of hearing voices in people with psychiatric diagnoses
    5. The lived experience of hearing voices in individuals diagnosed with a psychotic disorder: or, the journey from patient to non-patient
    6. Beyond disorder: religious and cross-cultural perspectives
    7. The phenomenology of hearing voices in people without psychiatric diagnoses
    Part III. The Causes of Hearing Voices:
    8. Neuroscience and hearing voices: it's the brain, stupid?
    9. Neuropsychological models I: inner speech
    10. Neuropsychological models II: memory and hypervigilance
    11. The wound is peopled: from world to brain and back again
    Part IV. The Meanings of Hearing Voices:
    12. The struggle for meanings
    Conclusion: moving towards new models of hearing voices
    Appendix A: AVHs and antipsychotic medication

  • Author

    Simon McCarthy-Jones, Macquarie University, Sydney
    Simon McCarthy-Jones is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Macquarie University's Centre for Cognitive Science, in Sydney, Australia.

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