Tanya Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, poses for a portrait in her office at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.  She acquired the artwork about 10 years ago. On the left is a painting called "Stigma," about the stigma of mental illness, and on the right the painting is called "Laws of Nature," about hearing voices.  (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Tanya Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology at Stanford University, poses for a portrait in her office at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. She acquired the artwork about 10 years ago. On the left is a painting called “Stigma,” about the stigma of mental illness, and on the right the painting is called “Laws of Nature,” about hearing voices. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

STANFORD — Voices heard by some schizophrenics are strange, angry and threatening. But others hear voices that are familiar, helpful and comforting.

Varying across cultures, these voices tell us something: What we believe shapes what we hear — and how we feel, according to Stanford anthropologist Tanya Luhrmann, whose first-ever cultural comparison found that Bay Area patients experienced more negative voices than patients in India and Ghana.