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Professor Charles Fernyhough on ‘Children, Voice-Hearing, and Imaginary Friends’

Public Lecture
Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Durham, DH1 3RN
8 February 2017, from 5.30 – 7:30pm

Many children hear voices, although the experience is not well understood in this age group. In this talk, Charles Fernyhough will explore how the experience of hearing voices relates to the common phenomenon of imaginary friends. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two aspects of psychological development can enhance our understanding of both kinds of experience.

All are welcome to attend this public lecture, but places are limited and can be reserved in advance by following the link below.


Charles Fernyhough is a Professor of Psychology at Durham University and is Director of the Hearing the Voice project for interdisciplinary voice-hearing research. His background is in developmental psychology, with a particular focus on social, emotional and cognitive development. Through theoretical and empirical work, Charles has contributed to the understanding of how language and thought are related in child development and beyond. The focus of his recent scientific work has been in applying ideas from mainstream developmental psychology to the study of psychosis, particularly the phenomenon of voice-hearing. 

Reserve your ticket here!

Further information

This event is part of the linked programme of events around Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday, a major exhibition on voice-hearing produced by Hearing the Voice and Palace Green Library.

About Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday

Hearing a voice in the absence of any speaker is one of the most unusual, complex, and mysterious aspects of human experience. Typically regarded, as a symptom of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, voice-hearing is increasingly recognized as an important part of many people’s lives and experience, as well as a phenomenon that has had profound significance, not only for individuals, but across communities, cultures, and history.

From the revelatory and inspirational voices of medieval mystics to those of imaginary friends in childhood, and from the inner voices of writers as they craft their characters to the stories of people from the international Hearing Voices Movement, this exhibition will explore the complexity and diversity of the experience and interpretation of voice-hearing.

This exhibition draws on the work of Hearing the Voice, a large interdisciplinary study of voice-hearing based at Durham University and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everday will be installed at Palace Green Library, Durham, UK from 5 November 2016 to 26 February 2017.

For more information please see the exhibition website:

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