3.6
Impact Factor

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Hum. Neurosci., 21 May 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2013.00213

Through the looking glass: self-reassuring meta-cognitive capacity and its relationship with the thematic content of voices

Charlotte Connor* and Max Birchwood
  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Aims: To examine the self-critical thoughts and self-reassuring meta-cognitive capacity of those who hear voices and explore whether they are associated with the theme of voice content and appraisals of voice power and voice expressed emotion.

Method: A cross-sectional design was used, combining semi-structured interviews and self-report measures. Data on symptomatology, self-critical thoughts and self-reassuring meta-cognitive capacity, thematic voice content, and appraisals of voice power and expressed emotion were collected from 74 voice-hearers in Birmingham, UK.

Results: Common themes of voice content reflected issues of shame, control, and affiliation. Controlling content was the most prevalent theme, however, no significant predictor of this theme was found; shaming thematic voice content linked with reduced capacity to self-reassure following self-critical thoughts. Voice-hearers with the greatest level of self-critical thoughts appraised their voices as powerful and high in voice expressed emotion.

Conclusions: Findings suggest that voice-hearers self-critical thoughts are reflected in the type of relationship they have with their voice. However, access to self-reassuring meta-cognitive capacity may serve as a protective factor for those who hear voices, resulting in more benign voice content. These findings highlight the importance of this specific meta-cognitive capacity and will inform future therapeutic interventions for the management of voices in this vulnerable group.

Keywords: voice-hearers, voice content, self-critical thoughts, self-reassuring meta-cognition, auditory hallucinations, voice power, voice expressed emotion

Citation: Connor C and Birchwood M (2013) Through the looking glass: self-reassuring meta-cognitive capacity and its relationship with the thematic content of voices. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:213. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2013.00213

Received: 28 February 2013; Accepted: 06 May 2013;
Published online: 21 May 2013.

Edited by:

Johanna C. Badcock, University of Western Australia, Australia

Reviewed by:

Johanna C. Badcock, University of Western Australia, Australia
Adolfo J. Cangas, University of Almería, Spain
Filippo Varese, University of Manchester, UK

Copyright © 2013 Connor and Birchwood. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Charlotte Connor, Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Fellow, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, University of Birmingham, 66-68, Hagley Road, Birmingham, B16 8PF, UK. e-mail: c.s.connor@bham.ac.uk