Why do certain beliefs appear across cultures?

Why are some beliefs held so strongly they can’t be changed?

Beliefs motivate and frame our existence, but we know little about how and why they’re formed, and why some might go on to make us unwell.

I’m a doctoral researcher at the IoPPN (KCL) researching the neuroscience and psychology of belief and delusion formation, funded through the MRC.


My research aims to understand the psychological and neural factors associated with theĀ formation and maintenance of beliefs and delusions. I take a specific interest in the formation of paranoid beliefs, and how this may influence social cognition.

This uses a combination of social and computational modelling, and pharmacological methods.

Supervisors: Mitul Mehta, Vaughan Bell, Quinton Deeley

Key Collaborators: Nichola Raihani, Michael Moutoussis, Oliver Robinson

You can get in touch with me on joe.barnby(at)kcl.ac.uk.

I’m also a scientist and science communicator at Thrive – a mental health app that aims to provide evidence based digital support. I also give talks on neuroscience, mental health, and consult as a scientist and mental health professional.