The effects of focus of attention on attributional bias in patients experiencing auditory hallucinations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Ian Ensum
  • Anthony P. Morrison


Cognitive models suggest that auditory hallucinations occur as the result of internal events attributed to an external source. The present study represents an attempt to evaluate the source monitoring performance of people who experience auditory hallucinations, specifically in terms of the suggested links between source monitoring, emotionality of stimuli and self-focused attention. The source monitoring performance of a group of 30 patients with a diagnosis of a schizophrenia spectrum disorder who experience auditory hallucinations was compared following successful experimental manipulation of their attention, designed to increase and decrease their levels of self-focused attention. The inclusion of words previously rated as emotionally salient by schizophrenic patients assessed the effect of emotionality on source monitoring performance. This study demonstrated that participants' ratings of both internality and control of their responses to the word association task were lower in the external focus condition than the internal focus condition. Furthermore, it was found that ratings of internality and control were lower for responses to both positive and negative stimuli compared to responses to neutral stimuli, and the magnitude of these differences was amplified in the internal focus condition relative to the external focus condition. Focus of attention has a significant effect on source monitoring performance in people experiencing auditory hallucinations. The theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-907
Number of pages12
JournalBehaviour research and therapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2003