For the study, which was recently published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Luhrmann and her colleagues interviewed 60 adults diagnosed with schizophrenia—20 each in San Mateo, California; Accra, Ghana; and Chennai, India. The patients were asked how many voices they heard, how often they heard them, and what the voices were like.
There were a number of cross-cultural similarities: Everyone from the Ghanians to the Californians reported hearing both good and bad voices and hearing unexplained hissing and whispering.
But there was one stark difference, as Stanford News points out: “While many of the African and Indian subjects registered predominantly positive experiences with their voices, not one American did. Rather, the U.S. subjects were more likely to report experiences as violent and hateful—and evidence of a sick condition.”