Valentina Cardella

Cognitive sciences and psychopathology: the case of auditory hallucinations

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Being an interdisciplinary enterprise to understand the mind, the cognitive sciences have developed a growing interest in mental disorders, because in these diseases, especially in psychosis, what is affected is the mind itself. In this paper we aim to show the way in which cognitive sciences investigate the world of mental disease. To that purpose, we'll focus on one of the typical symptoms of psychosis, the auditory hallucinations. The analysis of this symptom seems to provide the possibility to draw a sharp line between normality and pathology, because auditory hallucinations seem to be restricted to psychotic people. Nevertheless, the case of auditory hallucinations shows the difficulties that cognitive sciences have in the field of psychopathology. On one hand, they're having a hard time in identifying the mechanisms underlying auditory hallucinations, and it seems that they still haven't found them. On the other, in some of the cognitive perspectives, auditory hallucinations are not considered as a symptom restricted to psychosis; in these cases, therefore, cognitive sciences end up making the line between normality and psychosis a very fine one. Thus, they seem to fall short of the target.


  • Auditory Hallucinations
  • Cognitive Science
  • Psychopathology


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