When People With Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They’re Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech

Excerpted from NeuroLogic: The Brain’s Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior by Eliezer Sternberg, M.D. Out now from Pantheon.

My first encounter with a schizophrenic patient was as a medical student in my third week of a neurology rotation. The attending neurologist and I were called to consult on a psychiatric inpatient who had just had a seizure. “Have you taken psychiatry yet?” the doctor asked. I hadn’t. The neurologist insisted that it would be a valuable educational experience for me to see the patient on my own, listen to his story and medical history, and report back. So I headed alone to the psych ward, through the two sets of remote-activated metal doors, and into Room 621, where I met Brandon, a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from frequent auditory hallucinations.


my subvocal speech happens all the time, i get it when i read and when i am thinking, it is constantly in use, i talk to myself all the time, its more positive now, it use to be different but now it is encouraging me, i think it is bc i have a better relationship with God and things like that.

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Oh ■■■■ that. I don’t blather on about alien crap non-stop. My voices do.



Wow that “subvocal” Word is Amazing and Those Who Use it , Must Know More Then Myself , With All that
e(Y)e Have Experienced … ,

It’s Naught L(Y)Ke e(Y)e Have Already Solved tha “science” to thus Un-ending Spirituality Contest … ,

Here is tha Truth … ,

Tha Voices Come From Another Realm , that No One Understands … ,

Here’s Scientific Info , e(Y)e Solved on my Own … ,

In Your Brayne is a Pool of Thot , tha (thus is science mynde you) Thots Jump Our of Your Ear and Bounce Back into Your Ear and Dives Back Into tha Pool of Thot … ,

Sounds Fantastic Bill Nye … ,

So it’s Either Actual Creatures From Another Realm (kinda lyke carl saga’s flatland) (OR) Thots Jumping and Swimming All Day and All Nite … ,

Tha Choice is Yours .

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This is from wikipedia
Subvocalization -
Subvocal recognition involves monitoring actual movements of the tongue and vocal cords that can be interpreted by electromagnetic sensors. Through the use of electrodes and nanocircuitry, synthetic telepathy could be achieved allowing people to communicate silently.[5]

imo, It would be so cool to be connected to another person by electrodes and be able to hear their thoughts

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If thus Doesn’t Make Things Motionless e(Y)e Dunno What Can … ,

Here and ALSO SInce Wikipedia is Something One Can Trust Completely … ,

Tha Reason When You Focus on Your Tongue and it’s Movements , You Will Fynde Out that Blah Blah Blah Blah … ,

Jus Use Your Negative Imagination … ,

N e Thang Thang , That is Looking For a Way to Control Your Thots Cannot and e(Y)e Repeat , Cannot Be Trusted … ,

Look For Metaphysical Open Doors … ,

but “there are trap doors” … … …

i dont see anything wrong with talking to yourself, i do it all the time but just not out loud but when it gets out of control then you have a problem

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Uhhh what??? I certainly don’t think I am going to get shot by a very specific shot gun if I fail at test. My voices however, remind me quite often of the impending doom during work. This isn’t me…I really hope it isn’t at least. Nonetheless, I agree with @shutterbug on this one.


Hello You Weirdo (…) ,

Jus Joking … ,

N e Hoo (damn computers) , Have You Ever Herd of CARL SAGAN , e(Y)e Mis-spelled it Earlier … ,

He Has a V(Y)D On youtube (I think) Called FLATLAND … ,

It Could Ease Some Heart-ache on Perhaps Something Cool Going On … … …

I talk to myself all the time at work. There’s a technique professional drivers use called ‘commentary driving’ – it helps us identify hazards and track other traffic more efficiently. I do it under my breath so I don’t sound like a loon or wear my voice out:

It’s a completely different than how the symptoms of my illness present when I’m going through a rough patch.


i know what you mean bc i do that too, its just something about these things that seem to be connected in some way like its a similar type thing if you know what i mean.

I seldom talk to myself. I think it’s because I have little worthwhile to say to myself.

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Uhhh, okay? I don’t see how the 4th dimension works into this but…okay.

Yes e(Y)e Shall Make You Feel “uhhh, okay” … ,

We Can’t See tha Voices but They Exist , and There is a Huge Chasm in Between tha Divided Sections of “reality” and (OR) Splicing Opinions of tha “scientific” Reasoning and Way to Make Someone “better” as if to Saye that We Are Worth Very Little to tha Corporate Sanctions that Leads All Actual and Real Schizophrenics Towards an Expensive Industry to Bone Marrow Down those Who Feel Vulnerable Most of tha T(Y)me … ,

As if to Saye 1% , isn’t Good Enough … ,

So e(Y)e Disagree With Many “care”“takers” and Fynde tha 4th Dimension to Be Closer to Truth then Anything Else e(Y)e’ve Heard (OR) Read … … … ,

Ok (???)

i know the difference between subvocal and when the voices just do there own thing. subvocal would be more me hearing a voice talking to myself.
but when its more voices that feel as if there someone else such as alien or god or ‘brain’ or the collective as they call themselves. it just feels like it goes on autopilot.

example if they do appear they will all of a sudden be like : 'Hey were back its us, and we need to talk, its time to get things moving, you need to do what were about to tell you" etc… on it goes

years ago when i was like 18 i used to hear myself in my head thinking in 3rd person : like ‘jay knows what hes doing, jay will figure this out’ etc…

and it would almost always be in 3rd person. now i wonder if that was the beginning of when i was starting to go downhill mentally.

Okay, I see your point.

Yeah…no. The voices I hear come from outside of my head. And what they say are not things I would say… Is this saying that we just don’t realize when we’re talking to ourselves? I talk to myself, and I have my own thoughts that are in my voice, inside my head… It’s different, and I’m aware of it.

There was a point?!?


Trust Me , , ,

It’s More Complicated then that … … … ,

" and another one " - Hip Hop Artist (yes negative) . . . … . . .

The article is actually a pop-scientific account of the most dominant model of explanation for hearing voices/thought insertion that has been so for decades already. (Look for: Comparator Model, Frith). This model is pretty much the standard the in the literature, and has been for quite some time. It was actually introduced (if I recall correctly), for delusions of alien control - where one would feel bodily movements to no longer be under your control, and possibly them being controlled by some alien agent.

The crucial passage is the following:

Whenever a person hears her own voice, an unconscious recognition
circuit lights up in the brain. It works by comparing the sound she
hears with the expected sound of her voice, a prediction honed through
years of experience with conversation. If the actual voice matches the
prediction, the brain concludes that the voice was self-generated.
Alternatively, if the heard voice doesn’t match the prediction, the
brain concludes that someone else is speaking.

Some difficulties may arise if we do not keep in mind the conscious/subconscious distinction. The relevant (deviant) mechanism that is being discussed operates firmly subconsciously. The idea is that only its outputs make it to conscious experience, (the things ‘the brain concludes’ in the passage above). Subconscious processes here are meant to describe neuronal signals and the like.

Much of what the article claims does not pertain to conscious experience, and accordingly, our subjective experiences cannot really be at odds with those claims. The notion of the subconscious can be used in different ways, and here it is used as _sub_conscious full stop. Sometimes, we use the notion of subconscious thoughts or whatever, for ideas that we attribute to ourselves in retrospect. Used in this sense, we can have access to our ‘sub’ conscious thoughts. But in the article it just means brain activity, simply put. It doesn’t really help, i.m.o., that the article speaks of the brain ‘expecting’, ‘comparing’, ‘concluding’ etc., for these are terms that suggest some agent/subject ‘doing’ these things. Which blurs this distinction between conscious/subconscious.

‘Self generated’ may give rise to some unclarity when this distinction gets blurred… For, you know, any experience you consciously have, is self-generated in this sense: your own brain has to perform many crucial operations for this experience to show up in consciousness. But this term, involving the ‘self’, however we think of that, relates to conscious processes typically. The voices are self-generated in the same sense as the operations of, e.g., the liver are self-generated.