From mind-pops to hallucinations? : A study of involuntary semantic memories in schizophrenia
Involuntary semantic memories or mind-pops consist of isolated fragments of one's semantic knowledge (e.g., a word or a sentence, proper name, image or a melody) that come to mind unexpectedly, without any deliberate attempt to recall them. They can be experienced as alien and uncontrollable, and may share some phenomenological similarities with hallucinations. The aim of the present study was to investigate the nature and frequency of mind-pops in people with schizophrenia (N=37), as well as clinically depressed (N=31) and non-clinical controls (N=31). Results showed that schizophrenia patients reported experiencing mind-pops more frequently than both depressed and non-clinical controls. Schizophrenia patients also reported a wider range of different types of mind-pops than non-clinical controls. The depressed group did not differ from non-clinical controls in the frequency and range of mind-pops, indicating that mind-pops are not characteristic of clinical populations in general, but may be particularly prevalent in patients with schizophrenia. The possible implications of this finding to current models of auditory verbal hallucinations are discussed and the need for future research in this area is emphasized. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.