Resting state auditory-language cortex connectivity is associated with hallucinations in clinical and biological subtypes of psychotic disorders

Victoria T. Okuneye, Shashwath Meda, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Brett A. Clementz, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Carol A. Tamminga, Elena Ivleva, John A. Sweeney, Elliot S. Gershon, Sarah K. Keedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Auditory hallucinations are prevalent across the major psychotic disorders, but their underlying mechanism is poorly understood. Limited prior work supports a hypothesis of altered auditory/language brain systems. To more definitively assess this, we examined whether alterations in resting state connectivity of auditory and language cortices are associated with hallucination severity in a large sample of individuals in the schizo-bipolar spectrum. Methods: Whole brain resting state connectivity of auditory and language cortex (primary auditory cortex, unimodal auditory association cortex, Wernicke's area [speech and heteromodal association cortex] and Broca's area [speech production motor]) was evaluated for 243 subjects with schizophrenia, schizoaffective, or bipolar disorder with psychosis and 186 healthy controls from the Bipolar Schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes (B-SNIP) study. Regression analyses were conducted to evaluate whether resting state connectivity of auditory and language cortex was a significant predictor of current overall hallucination severity (information about specific modality of hallucinations experienced was not available). Results: Increased connectivity between lower and higher order regions of left temporal-parietal auditory/language processing cortex was associated with worse hallucination severity for all psychosis patients. Additionally, within bipolar subjects, increased interhemispheric connectivity between higher order temporal-parietal auditory/language regions was related to greater hallucination severity. When patients were categorized by B-SNIP biomarker-based Biotype groups, interhemispheric connectivity between left auditory association cortex and right core auditory cortex was related to greater hallucination severity for Biotype 1 patients. Exploratory analyses resulted in different patterns of connectivity of auditory/language cortex in patients and controls, unrelated to current hallucination severity. Conclusions: Although the findings cannot be precisely attributed to auditory hallucination severity or possible differences in such experiences between groups, increased connectivity among the left hemisphere auditory and receptive language cortex may represent a significant factor contributing to hallucination severity across psychotic disorders, and additional subgroup specific connectivity alterations may also be present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102358
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2020


  • Bipolar
  • Functional connectivity
  • Hallucination
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • rs-fMRI (Resting State fMRI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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