Neurocognitive bases of self-monitoring of inner speech in hallucination prone individuals

Christian Stephan-Otto, Christian Núñez, Federica Lombardini, Maria Rosa Cambra-Martí, Susana Ochoa, Carl Senior*, Gildas Brébion*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia patients might be seen as internal verbal productions mistaken for perceptions as a result of over-salient inner speech and/or defective self-monitoring processes. Similar cognitive mechanisms might underpin verbal hallucination proneness in the general population. We investigated, in a non-clinical sample, the cerebral activity associated with verbal hallucinatory predisposition during false recognition of familiar words —assumed to stem from poor monitoring of inner speech—vs. uncommon words. Thirty-seven healthy participants underwent a verbal recognition task. High- and low-frequency words were presented outside the scanner. In the scanner, the participants were then required to recognize the target words among equivalent distractors. Results showed that verbal hallucination proneness was associated with higher rates of false recognition of high-frequency words. It was further associated with activation of language and decisional brain areas during false recognitions of low-, but not high-, frequency words, and with activation of a recollective brain area during correct recognitions of low-, but not high-, frequency words. The increased tendency to report familiar words as targets, along with a lack of activation of the language, recollective, and decisional brain areas necessary for their judgement, suggests failure in the self-monitoring of inner speech in verbal hallucination-prone individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6251
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date17 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Funding & Acknowledgments: This work was supported by a Miguel Servet contract (CP09/00292) and Grant PI14/00047 from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III—Subdirección General de Evaluación y Fomento de la Investigación Sanitaria—co-funded by Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER), both to GB.


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