B4199 - The impact of command hallucinations and delusions of thought interference on suicidal behaviours - 21/11/2022

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Clara Humpston | University of York (United Kingdom)
Title of project: 
The impact of command hallucinations and delusions of thought interference on suicidal behaviours
Proposal summary: 

Auditory verbal hallucinations are conceptualised as hearing voices or a sense of being communicated to without any external speaker present. Historically viewed as hallmarks of psychosis and other serious mental illnesses, we now know that nonclinical voices can occur with varying intensities and frequencies in the general population too. However, clinical voices such as those of a commanding nature often contribute to severe levels of distress and dysfunction, especially when the voices command the voice-hearer to carry out harmful actions against their will. Related phenomena, called delusions of (thought) interference, include thought insertion and delusion of control, defined as the feeling that someone external is sending or forcing thoughts into a person's mind and being under the influence of an external power, respectively. Command hallucinations, delusion of control and thought insertion breach if not erase the boundary between one's self and other, thus leading to a confusion between internal and external events which can make the commands exceedingly difficult to resist. Sometimes both the distress caused by and the coercive nature of such experiences can lead to suicidal feelings and behaviours including acts of self-harm. This project aims to investigate the relationships between such command hallucinations, inserted thoughts and suicidal behaviours by studying their trajectories, how they develop and change over time, as well as clarifying the impact of these experiences on individuals' mental wellbeing versus diagnoses of mental illness.

Impact of research: 
Better understanding of command hallucinations and thought insertion and their effects on suicidal behaviours in psychoses and related disorders - clinicians need to actively enquire about self-harm in psychotic disorders and any related thought interference symptoms rather than assuming the behaviours are due to a personality disorder when presented with self-harm for example.
Date proposal received: 
Monday, 14 November, 2022
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 21 November, 2022
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition, Behaviour - e.g. antisocial behaviour, risk behaviour, etc., Statistical methods, Cognition - cognitive function