Self-recognition deficits in schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations: A meta-analysis of the literature

Flavie Waters*, Todd Woodward, Paul Allen, Andre Aleman, Iris Sommer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


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
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • auditory hallucinations
  • monitoring
  • schizophrenia
  • self-recognition


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