The Hugdahl ERC2 Lab is devoted to studies of clinical, cognitive and neuronal mechanisms of auditory verbal hallucinations (AVHs) in patients and healthy “voice hearers”. The head of the Lab is professor Kenneth Hugdahl, at the Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Norway. The research uses clinical scales, cognitive tests, and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the brain to enhance our understanding of the phenomenon of auditory verbal hallucinations.
The research is funded by an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, and it is the second time an ERC Advanced grant is given to the lab. The research group has a strong international profile and consists of Senior researchers, Postdocs, PhDs, Research engineer, Research– and MR-technicians, and Lab assistants. The group has a wide international network of collaborators across the world.
AVHs are typically defined as an experience of someone speaking to the individual in the absence of an external acoustic signal to explain the experience. In addition to being a perceptual experience, AVHs in patients are often accompanied by loss of cognitive control over the “voices”, and that the voices are experienced as emotionally negative. Neuroimaging and cognitive research by the Bergen ERC2 group has shown abnormalities in brain areas and networks which are linked to speech and language functions. Other research has shown disruptions of neurotransmitter function related to glutamate. Part of the group’s cognitive research was the development of an iPod app for cognitive training of attention away from the “voices”.