The Voices Within

Charles Fernyhough

Book cover of The Voices Within by Charles Fernyhough

An intriguing and deeply humane book... particularly good when addressing the role of inner voices in creativity... in The Voices Within, [Fernyhough] has again rendered complicated mental experience without losing its human texture.

New York Times Book Review

We all hear voices. Ordinary thinking is often a kind of conversation, filling our heads with speech: the voices of reason, of memory, of self-encouragement and rebuke, the inner dialogue that helps us with tough decisions or complicated problems. For others – voice-hearers, trauma-sufferers and prophets – the voices seem to come from outside: friendly voices, malicious ones, the voice of God or the Devil, the muses of art and literature.

In 'The Voices Within', psychologist Charles Fernyhough (shortlisted for the Royal Society Prize) draws on extensive original research and a wealth of cultural touchpoints to reveal the workings of our inner voices, and how they link to creativity and development. From Virginia Woolf to the modern Hearing Voices Movement, Fernyhough also transforms our understanding of voice-hearers past and present.

Building on the latest theories, including the new 'dialogic thinking' model, and employing state-of-the-art neuroimaging and other ground-breaking research techniques, Fernyhough has written an authoritative and engaging guide to the voices in our heads.

Published to coincide with 'This is a Voice', a Wellcome Collection exhibition exploring all aspects of the human voice and its complex psychological and physiological origins.

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About the author

Photograph of Charles Fernyhough

Charles Fernyhough

Charles Fernyhough is author of 'Pieces of Light' and 'The Baby in the Mirror', and has contributed to 'The Guardian', 'TIME Ideas', 'Sunday Telegraph' and 'Financial Times'. He is a part-time Professor in Psychology at Durham University, where he directs Hearing the Voice, a project on inner voices funded by the Wellcome Trust.