Almost everyone reports experiencing mind-pops at some time or another, but some experience them more than others according to research conducted by the University of Hertfordshire. In the paper to be published in Psychiatry Research, findings suggest that mind-pop experiences are related to hallucinations in those people suffering from schizophrenia.
Mind-pops are those little thoughts, words, images or tunes that suddenly pop into your mind at unexpected times and are totally unrelated to your current activity. These involuntary 'mind-pops' have become a topic of scientific study only recently even though they were described long ago by novelists such as Vladamir Nabokov.
The researchers, Professor Keith Laws, Professor Lia Kvavilashvili and Dr Ia Elua, compared the frequency of mind-pops in thirty-seven people with schizophrenia, thirty-one people with depression and twenty-six mentally healthy individuals. Their study found that all 100% schizophrenia patients reported experiencing mind-pops, compared to 81% of the depressed patients and 86% of the mentally healthy individuals.
In addition, schizophrenia patients experienced mind-pops significantly more frequently than depressed patients and mentally healthy people. Professor Laws added: "Mind-pops were more common both in patients who had experienced hallucinations in the past and in those who were currently experiencing hallucinations."
Based on the findings of the research, the team has suggested that verbal hallucinations, the chief symptom of schizophrenia, may be related to the mind-pop phenomenon that almost everybody experiences, but just manifests itself in a different way.
- Ia Elua, Keith R. Laws, Lia Kvavilashvili. From mind-pops to hallucinations? A study of involuntary semantic memories in schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.11.026
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