Auditory Imagery

Auditory imagery refers to the common experience in which people report that they “hear” a voice, melody, or other sound, in their “mind's ear,” all in the absence of an actual acoustic stimulus. In some cases, this experience is deliberate (and so someone can, if he or she chooses, try to imagine what his or her mother's voice sounds like, or what a particular musical performance sounds like). In other cases, the image arises spontaneously, and, indeed, people sometimes complain that they cannot avoid hearing a melody (or a snippet of a melody) over and over—a maddening experience sometimes given the striking label of “having an ear-worm.”

Auditory images are not hallucinations—people experiencing the images can tell that the images are “in their head,” and not ...

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