ViBE study

What is the study about?

This trial is investigating the psychological and brain mechanisms underlying voice hearing experiences in people with a diagnosis of BPD/EUPD. We know that voice hearing is common in people who receive a BPD/EUPD diagnosis, but unfortunately this is often not recognised by mental health professionals.

Very little research has been done to understand what these experiences are like for people with BPD/EUPD. We are hoping that this research will increase our understanding of voice hearing and lead to the development of new therapies for voice hearers with a BPD/EUPD diagnosis.

Inclusion criteria

  • Participants are adults aged 18-65
  • Participants are right-handed
  • Participants are fluent in speaking and reading English
  • Participants have normal to corrected vision
  • Participants have normal hearing (no clinical deafness or hearing impairment)
  • Participants have a diagnosis of BPD or EUPD
  • For voice hearers
    • Have heard a voice/voices in the past week
    • Have been hearing voices for at least 6 months

Exclusion criteria

  • Candidates are afraid of small, closed spaces or loud noises
  • Candidates have non-removable metal in or on their body
  • Candidates are pregnant
  • Candidate has a diagnosed neurological or neurodegenerative disorder e.g brain injury/ Parkinson’s
  • Candidate meets criteria for Schizophrenia or Schizoaffective Disorder
  • For voice hearers
    • Voices are due to effects of a substance or medical condition

What is involved for the patients?

1. Participants will have a screening appointment with a researcher (in person or over the phone) – 10 minutes
2. If eligible – they will be sent a Participant Information Sheet (PIS) if not already received one from their referrer and they will have 24 hours to consider whether or not they would like to take part.
3. An appointment will then be made with the participant at their local MH team to consent them and go through the study procedure.

The study involves 3 separate assessment phases (approx. 5 and a half hours in total):

1. Phase 1 – Semi-structured interviews (2 hours) and online questionnaires (£15)
2. Phase 2 – Online self-report measures (completed alone or with researcher) – 1 hour
3. Phase 3 - Meeting with a researcher at the University of Sussex:

  • Perform simple experimental tasks in fMRI scanner (1 hour)
  • Complete other simple tasks outside the scanner (1 hour) - £15

** Participants travel expenses will also paid in advance**


Megan Setterfield, Lead Researcher
T: 01622 427 210
M: 07584 384627