Hallucinatory 'voices' shaped by local culture, Stanford anthropologist says

Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.

Link to full article HERE


I have thought this for a very long time. I’ve had my input change, and as a result, my voices began to change.

Getting rid of my T.V. and avoiding angry / blood gushing programs have helped me calm down a lot.

Screaming cussing news anchors to hack and slash movies… all gone… and for me, some of my worst voices are gone with it.

My parents are NOT SZ but they tried an experiment where they only got their news from On-line newspapers and NOT screaming news anchors… they said they feel calmer too.


I agree, changing ones media diet is crucial to recovery. I have done so and saw a drastic change in my experience in general, not only with psychotic issues.

The article explains a couple speculations why people in Africa and India have a better time with voices.

First, is because in those cultures, people tend to be less independent and more interdependent, family relations being strong; people depend on each other more and are included. The people in communities are also linked more closely, typically because they together are strugling to survive or are just simply more connected to each other.

Second, there tends to be a richer perspective on spiritual life (ancestors and spirits of variety are either worshiped or recognized as “real”) so the whole cultures attitude is open to the idea of spiritual communication and do not think that it is evil or wrong. There is greater equity and understanding of people that have the experience, not as much stigma as there is in western, more materialistic cultures.

I have read other studies and reports that in general, because of the above positions, people with schizophrenia or psychosis in developing nations, generally have better out comes than those in developed nations.


Another reason I don`t watch the news while eating dinner. Who want to eat bad news?


I quit watching those awful news shows before I started hearing voices (I consistently started hearing voices when I was coming off of Clonopin). The voices that I did hear were those of my family living and deceased.

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i have aliens…they have good ideas.
take care