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Voices Heard By Schizophrenics Influenced By Culture

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Jul22-14, 10:06 PM
lisab's Avatar
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The "tone" of voices heard by schizophrenics is influenced by culture, as reported here:

I'm sorry the original research is behind a pay wall . This is really fascinating to me!

The findings revealed that hearing voices was broadly similar across all three cultures, according to Luhrmann. Many of those interviewed reported both good and bad voices, and conversations with those voices, as well as whispering and hissing that they could not quite place physically. Some spoke of hearing from God while others said they felt like their voices were an "assault" upon them.

The striking difference was that while many of the African and Indian subjects registered predominantly positive experiences with their voices, not one American did. Rather, the U.S. subjects were more likely to report experiences as violent and hateful – and evidence of a sick condition.

The Americans experienced voices as bombardment and as symptoms of a brain disease caused by genes or trauma.
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Greg Bernhardt
Jul22-14, 10:10 PM
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It is very interesting!

I know my family member has both negative and positive. Usually it's delusional like he'll be listening to a song and thinks he hears them saying his name and that they must be speaking to him.
Jul22-14, 10:26 PM
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,661
Odd, the documentaries I've seen have the schizophrenic patients getting both good and bad messages. There is a great documentary on a little girl named January which gets both positive and negative messages and feelings.

She only interviewed 60 people and she's an anthropologist? Sorry, but this goes against the actual reports on actual schizophrenics IIRC.

So much misinformation on schizophrenics.

January's story is very interesting, her 'friends are mostly "numbers' and some are very nice while a few are bad, one of them is very bad, I don't recall, it's been a few years since I've watched.

12 is a good number, all of the numbers are good except 400

Jul23-14, 05:51 AM
Ryan_m_b's Avatar
P: 5,490
Voices Heard By Schizophrenics Influenced By Culture

The full article can be accessed here to those with suitable access:

Differences in voice hearing experience of people with psychosis in the USA, India and Ghana: an interview based study

The article is quite interesting, the sample size is very small (just 20 people from each country) but it may show something interesting. Other than the higher prevalence of violent and distressing experiences amongst Americans the other big finding was that Americans are far less likely to experience their voices as individual people. Rather they ranged from unidentified entities or groups. Conversely the Indian interviewees predominately heard relatives or friends and the Ghanaians reported the voice as that of a deity.

The positive and negative aspects of things is interesting. Some of the Indian participants said that they voices of relatives bossed them around to do chores, berated them for life experiences and one claimed the voices vomited when he had sex. But some claimed that this could be positive as they were being advised/taught.

Obviously the study is limited and more research needs to be done but it's fascinating to think how culture could affect the content of psychoses.
Jul23-14, 08:53 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 1,940
Quote Quote by Ryan_m_b View Post
The article is quite interesting, the sample size is very small (just 20 people from each country) but it may show something interesting.
It's very small indeed. For a large country like the USA, it would also be interesting to investigate whether residents of high-stress areas (e.g., NYC) yield the same statistics as those in more laid-back parts of the country.

Obviously the study is limited and more research needs to be done but it's fascinating to think how culture could affect the content of psychoses.
Actually, it doesn't surprise me that much. The development\evolution of brain capability to "accommodate" a superego seems like a necessary component to enable a child to become able to function in a society. I.e., the cultural taboos and norms, and many instructions/attitudes from parents and other adults, need to get injected as rules into the child's superego as part of that process. Then there's also the implicit rules motivated by fearful experiences which must be incorporated (not always consistently).

The thing I find fascinating is the mechanism by which one's superego imposes punishment -- in the form of anxiety, guilt, etc, and physically by production of adrenalin and cortisol -- to make you (the ego) feel really crap if you disobey your superego's rules.

A component of psychotherapy involves learning that it's "ok" to discard some of the superego's rules if those rules are a load of crap when viewed rationally.
Jul27-14, 04:54 PM
P: 74
I was 25 when I went psychotic, up until 28 I didn't hear a voice until I went to jail (I was taking medication the whole time). I met the guy who is inside my head now and he is non stop with put downs ment to box me in. I'm from the usa and quite rational but I do belive their is more too it than just dopamine/ serotonin regulation problems. the things I've been through will make you belive in god, being a former atheist myself I woulda never belived it.

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