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Auditory verbal hallucinations across the wellness spectrum: Leveraging Human Neuroscience to Fathom the Unfathomable

Judith Ford
Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF
Date and Time: 
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 17:30

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)


I will define auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH), discuss who has them, and describe our efforts to study them using human neuroscience methods. More specifically, I will describe their phenomenological similarities across various groups that are both help seeking (psychiatric and neurological patients) and not help seeking (people without a psychiatric and neurological diagnosis) and explore several conceptual models of AVH and our efforts to use EEG methods to study one of the dominant models. I will then link this conceptual model to a well-described neural mechanism that allows all animals to distinguish between self-generated internal thoughts and external auditory voices.


Judy Ford graduated with a BA in psychology from Stanford in 1969, and in 1975, she earned her PhD from Stanford¹s Neurosciences program. Since then she has been on the faculty of medical school psychiatry departments at Stanford, Yale, and now UCSF, using her human neuroscience methods to understand how the brain works, and doesn’t work, first in normal aging and Alzheimer¹s disease and now in schizophrenia and psychosis more generally. For the last 15 years, her focus has been on using human neuroscience tools to understand how people can hear voices when no one is talking.