Sensory processing deficiencies in patients with borderline personality disorder who experience auditory verbal hallucinations

Maria B.A. Niemantsverdriet*, Christina W. Slotema, Frederik M. van der Veen, Mark van der Gaag, Iris E.C. Sommer, Mathijs Deen, Ingmar H.A. Franken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH) are common in patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD). We examined two candidate mechanisms of AVH in patients with BPD, suggested to underlie sensory processing systems that contribute to psychotic symptoms in patients with schizophrenia; sensory gating (P50 ratio and P50 difference) and change detection (mismatch negativity; MMN). Via electroencephalographic recordings P50 amplitude, P50 ratio, P50 difference and MMN amplitude were compared between 23 borderline patients with and 25 without AVH, and 26 healthy controls. Borderline patients with AVH had a significantly lower P50 difference compared with healthy controls, whereas no difference was found between borderline patients without AVH and healthy controls. The groups did not differ on MMN amplitude. The impaired sensory gating in patients with borderline personality disorder who experience AVH implies that P50 sensory gating deficiencies may underlie psychotic vulnerability in this specific patient group. Patients with borderline personality disorder with or without AVH did not have problems with auditory change detection. This may explain why they are spared from the poor outcome associated with negative symptoms and symptoms of disorganization in patients with chronic schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112545
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Early online date30 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


The authors thank Christiaan Tieman, Ing (Institute of Psychology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) for his technical assistance.

FundersFunder number
Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam


    • Event-related potentials
    • Evoked potential
    • Mismatch negativity
    • P50
    • Psychosis
    • Sensory gating


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