My research focuses on the following questions in the following areas:

Auditory verbal hallucinations (‘hearing voices’)

  • Phenomenology – what are these voices like?
  • History – what can this tell us about voice-hearing and how we understand it?
  • Trauma – how can this cause voice-hearing?
  • Genes – how are these involved?
  • Neurology – what are the brain changes underpinning voice-hearing?
  • Therapy – how can people who hear distressing voices be assisted?

Child sexual abuse (CSA)

  • What are the potential physical health consequences of CSA?
  • How does CSA lead to such physical health consequences?
  • What are the potential mental health consequences of CSA?
  • How does CSA lead to such mental health problems?
  • The role of shame in CSA.

More details are below:

Phenomenology of voice-hearing

In order to be able to explain voice-hearing, we must first know what it is we are trying to explain. A number of my studies have explored what voice-hearing is like, and how we might approach trying to assess this.

 Neuroscience of voice-hearing

What are the brain changes that lead to hallucinations? My research here has mainly used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to look at white matter changes (i.e., changes to the wiring of the brain), associated with voice-hearing.


Cognition and voice-hearing

What cognitive mechanisms (changes to information processing in our brain) may lead to the development of voice-hearing? My work here has looked at the inner speech theory and hypervigilance theory of voice-hearing.

  • Garwood, L., Dodgson, G. Bruce, V., & McCarthy-Jones, S. (2013).A preliminary investigation into the existence of a hypervigilance subtype of auditory hallucination in people with psychosisBehavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.
  • Jones, S. R. (2010). Do we need multiple models of auditory verbal hallucinations? Examining the phenomenological fit of cognitive and neurological models. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 36, 566–575.
  • Jones, S. R., & Fernyhough, C. (2007). Neural correlates of inner speech and auditory verbal hallucinations: A critical review and theoretical integration. Clinical Psychology Review, 27, 140–154.
  • Langdon, R., Jones, S. R., Connaughton, E., & Fernyhough, C. (2009).The phenomenology of inner speech: Comparison of schizophrenia patients with auditory verbal hallucinations and healthy controls. Psychological Medicine, 39, 655-663.

Trauma and voice-hearing

There is a strong connection between voice-hearing and earlier experiences of childhood trauma. My work here has looked at this association, including how genes may play a role in influencing whether or not childhood trauma results in voice-hearing.

Treatment and recovery from distressing voice-hearing

My work here has focussed on how psychological therapies can help people who hear voices, the potential for techniques such as neurofeedback to be helpful, and the different trajectories to recovery people take.

Meaning and voice-hearing

What does it mean to hear voices? My research here has considered the different meanings given to voice-hearing.

Child sexual abuse

My work here looks at the physical and mental health problems that child sexual abuse increases the risk of people experiencing, and the mechanism that may underlie this.

More to follow soon.