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.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Castro Romero, M., McCarthy-Jones, R., Dillon, J., Cooper-Rompato, C., Kieran, K., Kaufman, M., & Blackman, L. (2015). Hearing the unheard: An interdisciplinary, mixed methodology study of women’s experiences of hearing voices (auditory verbal hallucinations). Frontiers in Psychiatry.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Trauer, T., Mackinnon, A., Sims, E., Thomas, N., & Copolov, D. L. (2012). A new phenomenological survey of auditory hallucinations: Evidence for subtypes and implications for theory and practice. Schizophrenia Bulletin.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Thomas, N., Strauss, C., Dodgson, G., Jones, N., Woods, A., Brewin, C., Hayward, M., Stephane, M., Barton, J., Kingdon, D., & Sommer, I. (2014). Better than mermaids and stray dogs? Subtyping auditory verbal hallucinations and its implications for research and practice. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40, S275-S284.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., & Longden, E. (2015).Auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder: common phenomenology, common cause, common interventions? Frontiers in Psychology.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Krueger, J., Larøi, F., Broome, M. R., & Fernyhough, C. (2013). Stop, look, listen: The need for philosophical phenomenological perspectives on auditory verbal hallucinations. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
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.
- Oestreich, L. K. L., McCarthy-Jones, S., Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank, & Whitford, T. J. (2015). Decreased integrity of the fronto-temporal fibers of the left inferior occipito-frontal fasciculus associated with auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. Brain Imaging and Behavior, 10(2), 445-454. (pictured right)
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Oestreich, L. K. L., Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank, & Whitford, T. J. (2015). Reduced integrity of the left arcuate fasciculus is specifically associated with auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Research, 162(1-3),1-6.
- Alderson-Day, B., McCarthy-Jones, S., & Fernyhough, C. (2015). Hearing voices in the resting brain: A review of intrinsic functional connectivity research on auditory verbal hallucinations. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
- Garrison, J.R., Fernyhough, C., McCarthy-Jones, S., Haggard, M., The Australian Schizophrenia Research Bank, & Simons, J.S. (2015). Paracingulate sulcus morphology is associated with hallucinations in the human brain. Nature Communications, 6, 8956, 1-6. (pictured right).
- Alderson-Day, B., Diederen, K., Fernyhough, C., Ford, J.M., Horga, G., Margulies, D.S., McCarthy-Jones, S., Northoff, G., Shine, J.M., Turner, J. and van de Ven, V. (2016). Auditory hallucinations and the brain’s resting-state networks: Findings and methodological observations. Schizophrenia Bulletin, sbw078.
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 psychosis. Behavioural 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.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Green, M.J., Scott, R.J. Tooney, P.A., Cairns, M.J., Wu, J.Q., Oldmeadow, C., & Carr, V. (2014).Preliminary evidence of an interaction between the FOXP2gene and childhood emotional abuse predicting likelihood of auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 50, 66-72.
- McCarthy-Jones, S. (2011). Voices from the storm: A critical review of quantitative studies of auditory verbal hallucinations and childhood sexual abuse. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 983-992.
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.
- Smailes, D., Alderson-Day, B., Fernyhough, C., McCarthy-Jones, S., & Dodgson, G. (2015).Tailoring cognitive behavioural therapy to subtypes of voice-hearing. Frontiers in Psychology.
- de Jager, A., Rhodes, P., Beavan, V., Holmes, D., McCabe, K., Thomas, N., McCarthy-Jones, S., Lampshire, D., & Hayward, M. (2015).Investigating the lived experience of recovery in people who hear voices. Qualitative Health Research.
- Thomas, N., Hayward, M., Peters, E., van der Gaag, M., Bentall, R.P., Jenner, J., Strauss, C., Sommer, I., Johns, L., Varese, F., García Montes, J. M., Waters, F., Dodgson, G., & McCarthy-Jones, S. (2014). Psychological therapies for auditory hallucinations (voices): current status and key directions for future research. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40, S202-S212.
- McCarthy-Jones, S. (2012). Taking back the brain: Could neurofeedback training be effective for relieving distressing auditory verbal hallucinations?Schizophrenia Bulletin, 38, 678-682
Meaning and voice-hearing
What does it mean to hear voices? My research here has considered the different meanings given to voice-hearing.
- Corstens, D., Longden, E., McCarthy-Jones, S., Waddingham, R., & Thomas, N. (2014). Emerging perspectives from the Hearing Voices Movement: implications for research and practice. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40, S285-294.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., Waegeli, A., & Watkins, J. (2014). Spirituality and hearing voices: considering the relation. Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.
- Hayward, M., Awenat, Y., McCarthy-Jones, S., Paulik, G., Berry, K. (2015).Beyond beliefs: A qualitative study of people’s opinions about their changing relations with their voices. Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches, 7(2), 97-107.
- McCarthy-Jones, S. (2011). Seeing the unseen, hearing the unsaid: Hallucinations, psychology, and St Thomas Aquinas. Mental Health, Religion and Culture, 14, 353-369.
- Jones, S. R. (2010). Re-expanding the phenomenology of hallucinations: lessons from sixteenth century Spain.Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 13, 187-208.
- Jones, S.R., & Fernyhough, C. (2008). Speaking back to the spirits: the voices and visions of Emanuel Swedenborg.History of the Human Sciences, 21, 1-31.
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.
- McCarthy-Jones, S., & McCarthy-Jones, R. (2014). Body mass index and anxiety/depression as mediators of the effects of child sexual and physical abuse on physical health disorders in women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 28(12), 2007-2020.
More to follow soon.