An auditory hallucination is a form of hallucination that involves perceiving sounds without auditory stimulus. Although an alluding stigma of mental disorders may cause you to think that auditory hallucinations rarely stray from harsh and threatening, 'voice-hearing' can be quite the contrary.
A new study suggests that schizophrenic people in more collectivist societies sometimes think their auditory hallucinations are helpful. Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann found that voice-hearing experiences of people with serious psychotic disorders are shaped by local culture – in the United States, the voices are harsh and threatening; in Africa and India, they are more benign and playful. This may have clinical implications for how to treat people with schizophrenia, she suggests.