The experience of hearing voices varies from person to person. Anyone can experience it, and as we are all unique, we all have different ways of understanding what it means. Different causes for voice-hearing have also been proposed. But because the experience is so varied, it is likely that there will never be just one ‘right’ explanation.
Here, we take a brief tour of some of the different theories of voice-hearing that dominate current psychological and neuroscientific research. These explanations don’t exclude one another, they may be related, and they are not presented in any particular order. Additional resources are provided at the end of each section if you would like to find out more.
Click on the buttons below to explore the connections between voice-hearing and inner speech, trauma, and adversity, as well as what’s happening in the brain when someone hears voices.