Psychological Medicine

Original Articles

Aberrant resting-state connectivity in non-psychotic individuals with auditory hallucinations

K. M. J. Diederena1 c1, S. F. W. Neggersa1, A. D. de Weijera1, R. van Luttervelda1, K. Daalmana1, S. B. Eickhoffa2a3a4, M. Closa2, R. S. Kahna1 and I. E. C. Sommera1

a1 Neuroscience Division, University Medical Centre Utrecht and Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neuroscience, Utrecht, The Netherlands

a2 Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1, INM-2), Research Centre Jülich, Germany

a3 Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Medical School, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

a4 Institute for Clinical Neuroscience and Medical Psychology, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany


Background Although auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are a core symptom of schizophrenia, they also occur in non-psychotic individuals, in the absence of other psychotic, affective, cognitive and negative symptoms. AVH have been hypothesized to result from deviant integration of inferior frontal, parahippocampal and superior temporal brain areas. However, a direct link between dysfunctional connectivity and AVH has not yet been established. To determine whether hallucinations are indeed related to aberrant connectivity, AVH should be studied in isolation, for example in non-psychotic individuals with AVH.

Method Resting-state connectivity was investigated in 25 non-psychotic subjects with AVH and 25 matched control subjects using seed regression analysis with the (1) left and (2) right inferior frontal, (3) left and (4) right superior temporal and (5) left parahippocampal areas as the seed regions. To correct for cardiorespiratory (CR) pulsatility rhythms in the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, heartbeat and respiration were monitored during scanning and the fMRI data were corrected for these rhythms using the image-based method for retrospective correction of physiological motion effects RETROICOR.

Results In comparison with the control group, non-psychotic individuals with AVH showed increased connectivity between the left and the right superior temporal regions and also between the left parahippocampal region and the left inferior frontal gyrus. Moreover, this group did not show a negative correlation between the left superior temporal region and the right inferior frontal region, as was observed in the healthy control group.

Conclusions Aberrant connectivity of frontal, parahippocampal and superior temporal brain areas can be specifically related to the predisposition to hallucinate in the auditory domain.

(Received January 06 2012)

(Revised October 05 2012)

(Accepted October 08 2012)

(Online publication November 16 2012)

Key words

  • Functional connectivity;
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging;
  • hallucinations;
  • language;
  • memory;
  • psychosis;
  • schizophrenia


c1 Address for correspondence: K. M. J. Diederen, Ph.D., Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3DY, UK. (Email: