Joe Barnby

Pathway 0+4

Cohort 2017

Pathway Journey

Psychopharmacological and computational investigation of the cognitive mechanisms supporting paranoia.

My PhD project is “What is the relationship between dopamine modulation and social cognition and beliefs? Implications for the psychosis spectrum”.


I obtained my BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Leicester in 2011, and then followed on to complete my MSc in Clinical Mental Health at UCL.

The MRC DTP has given me the financial freedom and relevant supervision to train in pharmacological methods to address a meaningful research question, but also give me the freedom to explore my own ideas within a supportive team.

I’ve worked at Birkbeck (UK), Monash (Aus), and UCL (UK) as an RA on a number of interesting projects spanning neurofeedback, psychosis, social cognition, consciousness. All gave me vital research and career development skills, as well as being personally supportive. I’ve also worked as a mindfulness trainer, assistant psychologist, and mental health researcher at an app company – all have broadened my skills to help me think laterally and creatively in my current PhD.


Barnby, J. M., Mehta, M. A., & Moutoussis, M. (2022). The computational relationship between reinforcement learning, social inference, and paranoia. PLoS computational biology, 18(7), e1010326.

Barnby, J. M., Raihani, N., & Dayan, P. (2022). Knowing me, knowing you: Interpersonal similarity improves predictive accuracy and reduces attributions of harmful intent. Cognition, 225, 105098.

Barnby, J. M., Bell, V., Deeley, Q., & Mehta, M. A. (2020). Dopamine manipulations modulate paranoid social inferences in healthy people. Translational psychiatry, 10(1), 1-13.

Barnby, J. M., Bell, V., Mehta, M. A., & Moutoussis, M. (2020). Reduction in social learning and increased policy uncertainty about harmful intent is associated with pre-existing paranoid beliefs: Evidence from modelling a modified serial dictator game. PLoS computational biology, 16(10), e1008372.


Early Career Award (Schizophrenia International Research Society)
Junior Public Communication Award (British Association of Psychopharmacology)

Achievements and Experience

2018 – King’s Experience Award – A Beautiful Mind: Art, Science, and Mental Health

2017 – Presenter/Team Lead for Senscapes at BOZAR in Brussels to garner funding and network for our project Cognisynth – a dynamic, personal BCI tool.

2017 – Brain Hacker & Composer at the Horizon 2020 Hack the Brain event at the Science Gallery, Dublin, as part of winning team ‘Senscapes’ selected as a spinal project for further development and funding.

2017 – Brain Hacker & Composer at the AXNSCollective ‘Sine’ Hackathon, Resultant track:

2017 – On the local committee for ‘CogSci 2017’ conference, Cognitive Science Society

2016/17 – Lead Researcher/Mindfulness Trainer, Catalyst HA & Birkbeck, UK, Gener8 Project, Supervisor: Dr Eddy Davelaar

2016-17 – Co- Developer – UCL Mindfulness App, Collaborators: Dr Amali Lokugamage & Catherine McAteer

2015 – Research Lead, Re(Mind) app development, UCL, UK

Social Media

Personal Website:
Twitter: @joebarnby