On Monday, the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was announced . The prize was awarded to a team of scientists for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system — an “inner GPS” —in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function.
The prize of 8-million-Swedish-krona ($1.2-million USD) was divided, with one half to Dr. John O´Keefe, age 75, at at University College London and the other half jointly to a husband-and-wife team, Dr. May-Britt Moser, age 51, and Dr. Edvard I. Moser, age 52, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, for discovering how the brain creates a map of the space around us and how we can navigate our way through a complex environment.
Hearing voices that are not there was once thought to be a core symptom of schizophrenia and signify severe mental illness. It has been increasingly acknowledged that people with no other symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis do hear voices . There are several theories about what causes these auditory hallucinations. For example, there is good evidence that hearing voices can be linked to trauma . Attempting to understand the phenomenon is not only scientifically interesting but also relates to how society views people with these experiences and if and how they may be treated. A search for how these experiences are associated with brain function is ongoing. New research published in the journal Human Brain Mapping suggests that the predisposition to hearing voices may relate to abnormal functioning of the brain whilst at rest .