Exploring multimodal hallucinations and disturbances in the basic and bodily self: a cross-sectional study in a non-clinical sample

Lucretia Thomas, Lenie Torregrossa, Renate Reniers, Clara Humpston

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The bodily self is key to emotional embodiment, which is important for social functioning and emotion regulation. There is a paucity of research systematically assessing how basic and bodily self-disturbances relate to multimodal hallucinations. This study hypothesised that participants with greater hallucination-proneness would report greater degrees of basic and bodily self-disturbance and would demonstrate more ambiguous and less discrete mapping of emotional embodiment. Stage one screened non-clinical participants’ degree of hallucination-proneness. Stage two participants completed seven further questionnaires. Hierarchical linear regression modelled the influence of hallucination-proneness and covariates on measures of basic and bodily self-disturbance and sensed presence. Stage two participants also completed a computerised body mapping task (EmBODY) which assessed emotional embodiment. Topographical maps were generated to compare patterns of embodiment between high and low hallucination-proneness groups. 55 respondents participated in stage two, with 18 participants from the high or low hallucination-proneness groups completing EmBODY. In the hierarchical regression analyses, the addition of a measure of hallucination proneness in the final step only increased predictive power where the dependent variable assessed sensed presence (p = 0.035 and p = 0.009, respectively). The EmBODY data revealed that participants with low hallucination-proneness consistently reported more bodily activation across 14 emotional states, whereas the high hallucination-proneness group reported more deactivation. In conclusion, hallucination-proneness was most strongly associated with sensed presence experiences. Patterns of embodiment appeared similar between the two groups, despite consistent differences in activation and deactivation. These findings are exploratory and need to be confirmed in a larger sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Early online date2 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • bodily self
  • multimodal hallucinations
  • psychosis continuum
  • psychotic-like experiences
  • self-disturbance
  • survey


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