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Dr Vaughan Bell  BSc (Hons) MSc CertHE PhD DClinPsy CPsychol

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Institute of Psychiatry
Box  P078
De Crespigny Park
United Kingdom, SE5 8AF

departmentsClinical Neuroscience


I am a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist interested in understanding and treating brain injury, mental distress and psychological impairment. I currently work as a full-time clinician in inpatient and outpatient services in London and I’m also a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience here at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. I’m also pleased to maintain my links with Colombia where I was kindly invited to be an international member of the ’Chair of Psychopathology and Clinical Psychiatry Professor Germán Berrios’ at the Departamento de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario San Vicente de Paúl and the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín.

activities and interests

My research interests focus on three main areas:

  • The cognitive neuropsychiatry of psychosis, delusions and hallucinations
  • Neuropsychology of suggestion and dissociative disorders.
  • Brain injury and neuropsychological assessment.

    Other ongoing projects:

  • Editorial board of PLoS One and The Psychologist.
  • Public engagement for psychology, neuroscience and mental health
  • Writing, most days for and as a psychology and neuroscience columnist for The Observer

    teaching activities

    Past talks / lectures / presentation material available here.


    Publications are listed under three headings:

    i) Academic
    ii) Non-academic: print
    iii) Non-academic: radio
    iv) Non-academic: internet

    Scientific and academic publications

    Bell, V. (in press) Cultures of chemically-induced hallucinations. The Psychologist [email me]

    Bell, V. & Peters, E. (in press) Delusions. In F. Waters and M. Stephane (eds) The Assessment Of Psychosis [email me]

    Larøi, F, Raballo, A. & Bell, V. (in press) Psychosis-like experiences in non-clinical populations. In F. Waters and M. Stephane (eds) The Assessment Of Psychosis [email me]

    Larøi, F., Luhrmann, T., Bell, V., Christian, W.A., Desphande, S., Fernyhough, C., Jenkins, J. & Woods, A. (in press) Culture and hallucinations: overview and future directions. Schizophrenia Bulletin [email me]

    Woods, A., Jones, J., Bernini, M., Callard, F., Alderson-Day, B., Badcock, J.C., Bell, V., Cook, C., Thomas, C., Humpston, C., Krueger, J., Larøi, F., McCarthy-Jones, S., Moseley, P., Powell, H., Raballo, A., Smailes, D., Fernyhough, C. (in press) Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Phenomenology of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations. Schizophrenia Bulletin [email me]

    Deeley, Q., Oakley, D.A., Walsh, E., Bell, V., Mehta, M.A., Halligan, P.W. (2014) Modelling psychiatric and cultural possession phenomena with suggestion and fMRI. Cortex, 53, 107-19. [email me]

    Jaén Moreno, M., Moreno Díaz, M., Luque Luque, R., Bell, V. (2014) Validación de la versión española de la Escala de Percepciones Anómalas de Cardiff en población general [Validation of the Spanish version of the Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale in the general population] Actas Españolas de Psiquiatría, 42, 1-8. [pdf] [open access pdf]

    Bell, V. (2013) A Community of One: Social Cognition and Auditory Verbal Hallucinations. PLOS Biology 11 (12), e1001723 [open access]

    Deeley, Q., Walsh, E., Oakley, D.A., Bell, V., Koppel, C., Mehta, M.A., Halligan, P.W. (2013) Using hypnotic suggestion to model loss of control and awareness of movements: an exploratory fMRI study. PLOS One, 8 (10), e78324 [open access]

    Deeley, Q., Oakley, D.A., Toone, B., Bell, V., Walsh, E., Marquand, A.F., Giampietro, V., Brammer, M.J., Williams, S.C.R., Mehta, M.A., Halligan, P.W. (2013) The Functional Anatomy of Suggested Limb Paralysis. Cortex, 49 (2), 411-422 [pdf]

    Barrera, M., Calderón, L. & Bell, V. (2013) The cognitive impact of sexual abuse and PTSD in children: a neuropsychological study. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 22 (6), 625-638 [pdf]

    Holguín-Lew, J.C. & Bell, V. (2013) “When I Want to Cry I Can’t”: Inability to Cry Following SSRI Treatment. Revista Colombiana de Psiquiatría, 42 (4), 304-310. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Méndez, F., Martínez, C., Palma, P.P. & Bosch, M. (2012) Characteristics of the Colombian Armed Conflict and the Mental Health of Civilians Living in Active Conflict Zones. Conflict and Health, 6, 10. [open access]

    Stafford, T. & Bell, V. (2012) Brain network: social media and the cognitive scientist. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16 (10), 489-490 [pdf]

    Oakley, D.A., Deeley, Q., Bell, V. & Halligan, P.W. (2012) Imaging hysterical, hypnotically suggested and malingered limb paralysis. In M. Hallett, C.R. Cloninger, S. Fahn, P. Halligan, J. Jankovic, A.E. Lang & V. Voon (eds) Psychogenic Movement Disorders and Other Conversion Disorders. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [email me]

    Bell, V. & Halligan, P.W. (2012) The Neural Basis of Abnormal Personal Belief. In F. Kruger and J. Grafman (eds) The Neural Basis of Human Belief Systems. Hove: Psychology Press. [pdf]

    Wicks, P. & Bell, V. (2012) Letter to the Editor: Quality of mental health information on Wikipedia. Psychological Medicine, 42, 891. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Pugh, K., Freeman, D. (2011) Correlates of perceptual distortions in clinical and non-clinical populations using the Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale (CAPS): Associations with anxiety and depression and a re-validation using a representative population sample. Psychiatry Research, 189 (3), 451-457. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2011) Levels of (un)consciousness. Neuropsychoanalysis, 13, 32-34. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Oakley, D.A., Halligan, P.W. & Deeley, Q. (2011) Dissociation in hysteria and hypnosis: evidence from cognitive neuroscience. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 82, 332-339. [pdf]. Selected as Editor’s Choice so full text also available from journal.

    Bell, V. (2010) Book Review: Delusion and Self-Deception: Affective and Motivational Influences on Belief Formation. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 15 (6), 574-576 [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2011) Book Review: The Neuropsychology of Mental Illness. British Journal of Psychiatry, 198, 78-79. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2010) Research Notes: San Lázaro Psychiatric Hospital, ‘El Hospicio de Quito’, Ecuador. History of Psychology, 13 (4), 437-439. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Raballo, A. & Larøi, F. (2010) Assessment of Hallucinations. In F. Larøi and A. Aleman (eds) Hallucinations: A Practical Guide to Treatment and Management. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [pdf]

    López-Jaramillo, C., Lopera-Vásquez, J., Gallo, A., Ospina-Duque, J., Bell, V., Torrent, C., Martinez-Aran, A. & Vieta, E. (2010) Effects of recurrence on the cognitive performance of patients with Bipolar I disorder: implications for relapse prevention and treatment adherence. Bipolar Disorders, 12 (5), 557–567. [pdf]

    Bell, V. & Halligan, P.W. (2010) Additional data on whether vividness of visual mental imagery is linked to schizotypal traits in a non-clinical population. Psychiatry Research, 178(3), 568-9. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2010) The Internet and Clinical Neuropsychology: Privacy, Personal Safety and Effective Internet Use. In J. Gurd, U. Kischka, J. Marshall (eds) Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology (2nd ed) Oxford: Oxford University Press. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2010) An Alternative Interpretation of ’The Psychotomimetic Effects of Short-Term Sensory Deprivation’. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198 (2), 166. Letter to the editor. [pdf]

    Bell, V. & Halligan, P.W. (2009) Cognitive Neurology. In G.G. Berntson and J.T. Cacioppo (eds) Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Sciences: Volume Two. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. [pdf]

    Bell V. (2009) Taking an internet history. British Journal of Psychiatry, 194, 561-2. Letter to the editor. [pdf]

    Grueter, T., Grueter, M., Bell, V. & Carbon, C. (2009) Visual mental imagery in hereditary prosopagnosia. Neuroscience Letters, 453 (3), 135-140. [pdf]

    Raballo, A., Larøi, F. & Bell, V. (2009) Humanizing the Clinical Gaze: Movies and the Empathic Understanding of Psychosis. Family Medicine, 41 (6), 387-388. Letter to the editor. [pdf]

    Rees, J., McKenna, P., Bell, V., Skucek, E., Nichols, E. & Fisher, P. (2008) The Rookwood Driving Battery: normative older adult performance. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 47 (2), 139-151. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2008) Are anomalous perceptual experiences necessary for delusions? Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 196 (1), 3-8. NB: Publisher’s erratum in Volume 196(3), March 2008, p 262. Full correct version here: [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2007) Online information, extreme communities and internet therapy: Is the internet good for our mental health? Journal of Mental Health, 16 (4), 445-457. [pdf]

    Grueter, M., Grueter, T., Bell, V., Horst, J., Laskowski, W., Sperling, K., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. & Kennerknecht, I. (2007) Hereditary prosopagnosia: The first case series. Cortex, 43, 734-749. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Reddy, V., Halligan, P.W., Kirov, G., Ellis, H.D. (2007) Relative suppression of magical thinking: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Cortex, 43, 551-557. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2007) The Psychosis Continuum and the Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale (CAPS): Are There Multiple Factors Underlying Anomalous Experience? European Psychiatry, 22, Suppl 1, S47. Published abstract. [pdf]

    McKenna, P., Bell, V. (2007) Fitness to drive following cerebral pathology: The Rookwood Driving Battery as a tool for predicting on-road driving performance. Journal of Neuropsychology, 1, 85-100. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2006) Diagnosing delusions: A review of inter-rater reliability. Schizophrenia Research, 86 (1-3), 76-9. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2006) Through A Scanner Darkly: Neuropsychology and psychosis in Philip K. Dick’s novel "A Scanner Darkly". The Psychologist, 19 (8), 488-489. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2006) Explaining delusions: A cognitive perspective. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10 (5), 219-226. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2006) The Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale (CAPS): A new validated measure of anomalous perceptual experience. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 32 (2), 366-77. [paper] [scale].

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2006) A Cognitive Neuroscience of Belief. In P.W. Halligan & M. Aylward (eds) The Power of Belief: Psychosocial Influences on Illness, Disability and Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Maiden, C., Muñoz-Solomando, A. & Reddy, V. (2006) "Mind control experiences" on the internet: Implications for the psychiatric diagnosis of delusions. Psychopathology, 39, 87-91. [pdf]

    McKenna, P., Rees, J., Skucek, E., Nichols, E., Fisher, P., Bayer, T. & Bell, V. (2005) The Rookwood Driving Battery and the older adult. In Traffic and Transport Psychology. London: Elsevier. [email me]

    Bell, V., Grech, E., Maiden, C., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H.D. (2005) "Internet delusions": A case series and theoretical integration. Psychopathology, 38, 144-150. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Lloyd-Wright, Z, Møller, J., Hvas, A., Nexø, E., Sanders, T.A.B. (2005) Cognitive performance in vitamin B12 deficient vegan men with intermediate hyperhomocysteinaemia. Haematologica Reports, 1 (3), 4. Published abstract. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2004) Book review: From the Edge of the Couch: Bizarre psychiatric cases and what they teach us about ourselves by R. Persaud. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 9, 315-318. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2004) Mind control experiences on the internet and the psychiatric diagnosis of delusions. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, 12 (2), 162. Published abstract. [pdf]

    Bell, V. & Halligan, P. (2004) Book review: Neuropsychological Interventions: Clinical Research and Practice, edited by Paul J. Eslinger. Brain, 127 (1), 237-238. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Ellis, H. & Halligan, P. (2003) Neuropsychology, delusions and modularity: The curious problem of belief. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, 11 (2), 174. Published abstract. [pdf]

    Bell, V., (2003) Book review: Imagination and its Pathologies. Edited by J. Phillips and J.Morley. Human Nature Review, 3, 363-365. [pdf]

    Bell, V., Halligan, P.W. & Ellis, H. (2003) Beliefs about delusions. The Psychologist, 16(8), 418-423. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2003) The internet and clinical neuropsychology. In P. Halligan, U. Kischka and J.C. Marshall (eds) Handbook of Clinical Neuropsychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [pdf]

    Bell, V. (2002) Book review: Pathologies of Belief by M. Coltheart & M. Davies. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 7 (4), 329-333. [pdf]

    Bell, V. & Ward, J. (2001, July) Does semantic and episodic memory make equal contributions to learning in memory impaired patients ? Poster session presented at International Conference on Memory 3, Valencia, Spain.

    Non-academic writing: print

    The Observer
    * The truth about lie detectors
    * A brief guide to neuroscience
    * The trouble with brain scans
    * The rebirth of hypnosis
    * Simulating dementia in the brain
    * Psychological bias in forensic DNA testing
    * Why grief and grieving is not universal
    * Are video games really the villains in our violent age?
    * The unsexy truth about dopamine
    * Our brains, and how they’re not as simple as we think
    * Genetic studies are breaking down the borders of psychiatric diagnosis
    * Disaster counselling is a disaster zone
    * Why the war on drugs has been made redundant
    * You needn’t be wrong to be called delusional
    * From the Prozac era to the rise of the circuit based human
    * Perceiving meaning amid the chaos of everyday life

    Wired UK Magazine
    * Neurosecurity
    * Networked drugs (scroll down)
    * MRI’s Fatal Attraction
    * Mind controller: What is the ’burundanga’ drug?
    * YouTube Drug Monitoring
    * Illness Prestige
    * Ambient Thought Fusion

    The Times
    * Is screen culture damaging our children’s brains? [pdf] - debate with Susan Greenfield.

    Beyond Boundaries column
    Published in The Psychologist

    * Digital Community Psychology
    * Lost in Translation
    * Fringe Drinking Culture
    * Nature vs Nurture is a Lie
    * Clinical Psychology is for Women
    * Psychology in Argentina
    * Social Engineering
    * Murder is a Social Act
    * Swimming in the Tides of War
    * Reaction Formation in New York City
    * The Mind is a Guess

    30 Second Psychology
    Contributory author to 30 Second Psychology edited by Christian Jarrett and published by Icon Books in June 2011.

    My contributions to the book are:
    * Sperry’s Split Brains
    * Seligman’s Prepared Learning
    * Charcot’s Hysteria
    * Rosenhan’s Insane Places
    * Kapur’s Aberrant Salience
    * Maslow’s Humanistic Psychology
    * Beck’s Cognitive Therapy
    * Extreme Male Brains

    Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain
    Contributory author to Mind Performance Hacks a book by Ron Hale-Evans published by O’Reilly Books in February 2006.

    My contributions to the book are:
    * Know the Facts About Cognitive Enhancers [pdf]
    * Overclock Your Brain [pdf]
    * Overcome the Tip-of-the-Tongue Effect [pdf]
    * Don’t Neglect The Obvious: Sleep, Nutrition, and Exercise [pdf]

    Mind Hacks: Tips & Tools for Using Your Brain in the World
    Contributory author to Mind Hacks a book by Matt Webb and Tom Stafford, published by O’Reilly Books in December 2004.

    My contributions to the book are:
    * Detect the Effect of Cognitive Function on Cerebral Blood Flow [pdf]
    * Detect Sounds on the Margins of Certainty [pdf]
    * Mould Your Body Schema [pdf]
    * Have an Out-of-Body Experience [pdf]
    * Enter the Twilight Zone: the Hypnagogic State [pdf]

    Openmind Magazine
    Article on madness and revelation for Openmind magazine, September 2004.
    * Is nothing sacred? [pdf]

    Non-academic: radio

    ABC Radio National
    * All in the Mind: The plant that steals your free will? Co-producer and reporter on this documentary on the science and culture of the psychoactive plant brugmansia and the drug ’burundanga’ - rumoured to remove free will.

    Non-academic writing: internet

    Discover Magazine: The Crux
    * Life During Wartime: Can Mental Illness Be a Rational Response?
    * What’s Causing Cheerleader Hysteria? Signs of a Struggle Within the Brain
    * Anesthesia May Leave Patients Conscious—and Finally Show Consciousness in the Brain
    * What Is the “Bible of Psychiatry” Supposed to Do? The Peculiar Challenges of an Uncertain Science
    * The Addiction Habit: How addiction has become the pop culture disorder of choice for the 21st century.
    * Don’t Touch That Dial!: A history of media technology scares, from the printing press to Facebook.
    * Jesus, Jesus, Jesus: What happened when three men who thought they were Jesus lived together in a mental hospital.
    * Crazy Talk: We’re too quick to use "mental illness" as an explanation for violence.
    * Prophecy Fail: What happens to a doomsday cult when the world doesn’t end?

    The Guardian
    * Hypnosis in the lab

    Scientific American
    * Ghost Stories: Visits from the Deceased: An article about grief hallucinations.

    BPS Research Digest
    * Unusual experiences in everyday life
    * What’s the most important psychology experiment that’s never been done...? Hiring private detectives to investigate paranoid delusions.

    * Studio Charcot: An article about photography, ’madness’ and ’hysteria’ in the 19th century.
    * Stüdyo Charcot: Turkish translation with fantastic illustrations. articles
    I am a daily contributor to Mind Hacks, the website stemming from the book of the same name (see above). It provides daily news and short articles related to the mind and brain. Occasionally, I write longer articles for the site, including:

    * The curious case of Morgellons disease
    * Everyday insanity: psychosis and the mundane
    * On orgasms, epilepsy and the lack of sexual neuroscience
    * Is depression a brain disease?
    * Pulp symptoms
    * Hijacking intelligence
    * The hardest cut: Wilder Penfield and the fight for his sister articles
    kuro5hin is a collaborative peer-edited journalism site.

    * Simulating Psychosis II: Virtual Unreality
    * Modern-day Lycanthropy
    * Madness In Gotham
    * Simulating Psychosis
    * The Psychology and Neuroscience of Alien Abduction
    * Koro: A Natural History of Penis Panics entries
    I spent a lot of time writing and developing psychopathology articles in the early days of Wikipedia, although sadly I have much less time to contribute these days. However, the articles I wrote or worked on are linked below, some now in better shape than others.

    * Adolf Wölfli
    * Amphetamine psychosis
    * Anosognosia
    * Antipsychotic
    * Capgras Delusion (Capgras Syndrome)
    * Cognitive neuropsychology
    * Compulsive hoarding
    * Cotard Delusion (Cotard Syndrome)
    * Delirium
    * Delusion
    * Delusional Disorder
    * Delusional Jealousy (Othello Syndrome)
    * Delusional misidentification syndrome
    * Delusional Parasitosis (Ekbom Syndrome)
    * Erotomania (De Clerambault Syndrome)
    * Eugene Bleuler
    * Executive system
    * Face perception
    * Fregoli Delusion (Fregoli Syndrome)
    * Folie à deux
    * Hallucination
    * James Tilly Matthews
    * Jerusalem syndrome
    * Jules Cotard also in Spanish
    * Kurt Schneider
    * Martha Mitchell Effect
    * Neuropsychology
    * Paranoia
    * Phineas Gage
    * Prosopagnosia
    * Psychopathology
    * Psychosis
    * R. D. Laing
    * Reduplicative paramnesia
    * Schizophrenia
    * Schizotypy
    * Statistical parametric mapping
    * Thomas Szasz
    * W. H. R. Rivers also in Spanish

  • last updated: Saturday, May 23, 2009