Activation of Heschl's gyrus during auditory hallucinations.
Apart from being a common feature of mental illness, auditory hallucinations provide an intriguing model for the study of internally generated sensory perceptions that are attributed to external sources. Until now, the knowledge about the cortical network that supports such hallucinations has been restricted by methodological limitations. Here, we describe an experiment with paranoid schizophrenic patients whose on- and offset of auditory hallucinations could be monitored within one functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session. We demonstrate an increase of the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in Heschl's gyrus during the patients' hallucinations. Our results provide direct evidence of the involvement of primary auditory areas in auditory verbal hallucinations and establish novel constraints for psychopathological models.