Dialogues in Philosophy
Mental and Neuro Sciences

Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences

The official journal of Crossing Dialogues
Volume 16, Issue 1 (June 2023)


The Phenomenological Auditory Hallucination Scale, first version

Massimiliano Aragona & Matteo Maggiora

We present the first version of the Phenomenological Auditory Hallucination Scale (PAHS.1). It is an instrument designed for clinical practice and psychopathological research. Our main aim is to explore hallucinations with a specific attention to the qualitative subtle features that often are crucial for the assessment.
A first step was to enrich the definitions of commonly used scales with core details of the hallucinatory phenomenon. Moreover, we considered hallucinations not as an object but as the emergence of a figure-background articulation during an interpersonal dialogue. This has at least two consequences.
First, that the scale is designed to assess not only the intrinsic features of hallucinations but also the context in which they are situated. Including the landscape means to evaluate other features (above all, the state of consciousness while hearing voices) that are assessed with the methods of classical descriptive psychopathology, but also other phenomena (e.g., the surrounding atmosphere, the experience of time, etc.) that are typically studied in phenomenological psychopathology.
Second, that while some phenomena are experienced in first-person by the patient, others are perceived/conceived by the clinician (often by means of empathic abilities, atmospheric perception, etc.) and need to be rated by the interviewer.
Accordingly, the PAHS.1 is structured as a clinician-administered scale in which the psychopathologists can report what the patient communicate about his/her disturbances and what the clinician observe about the patient and him/herself.
To avoid Procrustean effects and petrification of the phenomena, we publish here a first draft of the scale that will change following the inputs arriving from our readers. Only after a circular work of conceptual critiques and adjustments (collective revision) we will consider formal validation procedures.
Finally, in our view the PAHS should be useful for both clinical exploration of the phenomena (the phenomenological ‘unfolding’ of experiences) and prototypical research.



Philosophy of psychiatry, rating scales, psychodiagnostics, psychopathology, phenomenology, hallucinations, AVH, qualitative research.

Dial Phil Ment Neuro Sci 2023; 16(1): 14-27

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Received on May 15, 2023
Accepted on June 10, 2023
Firstly published online on February 14, 2024