What, if anything, is crazy about this?

This month’s “What, if anything, is crazy about this?” essay poses a complex challenge. Write a clear, sensible essay telling what, if anything is crazy about the following study:

Effet de l’écoute de mots déjà hallucinés chez des sujets schizophrènes en rémission : étude de six cas par la résonance magnétique nucléaire fonctionnelle” [Effects of listening to previously hallucinated words by schizophrenia patients in remission: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study of six cases], Ait Bentaleb L, Stip E, Mendrek A, Mensour B, Beauregard M., L’ Encephale, 2006 Jan-Feb;32(1 Pt 1):27-40.

The authors, at Psychiatre à l’Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine et Chercheur-Associé au Centre de Recherche Fernand-Séguin and at several other institutions in Montréal, report:

BACKGROUND: The neurocognitive and neurophysiological bases of AVHs [auditory verbal hallucinations ] remain obscure….
DESIGN: We employed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 6 schizophrenia patients in total remission of AVHs for at least 12 months, during listening to the words hallucinated by them in the past. Specifically, we created the list of previously hallucinated words for each patient and matched the words in terms of length, structure, emotional valence, semantic category and frequency of usage with the non-hallucinated words. Moreover, each patient was paired demographically with the control participant who was presented with the same words….
CONCLUSION: In contrast to our initial hypothesis we did not observe any significant differences between processing of the hallucinated versus non-hallucinated words in the primary auditory cortex. In retrospect, this result is not surprising because patients did not experience internally generated AVHs while in the scanner, but instead were exposed exclusively to externally generated stimuli.

Improbable Research