Dr Jason Braithwaite BSc PhD

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology & Brain Science

School of Psychology

Jason Braithwaite

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

About

Dr Jason Braithwaite is a Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology and Brain Science at the Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham.  He heads the Selective Attention & Awareness Laboratory (SAAL) which has been supported with previous funding from the Leverhulme Trust, ESRC, BBSRC, RCUK, The Bial Foundation.  He currently heads projects in diverse fields from research into inhibitory processes underlying visual selection to biases in perspective-taking and embodiment processes underlying anomalous bodily experiences (i.e., the out-of-body experience).  His research has been published in top international peer-reviewed journals and has received world-wide media attention. 

Current projects in the laboratory are focusing on the neruocognitive correlates of hallucinatory experiences of the self including (i) out-of-body expeirences, (ii) sensed-presence experiences (iii) depersonalization experiences and the 'self'; (iv) embodiment and emotion, and (v) other body-distortion experiences.  Techniques in the laboratory typically involve, reaction times / accuracy, psychophysiology (electrodermal activity / skin conductance responses / body temp / facial EMG), and there is the opportunity to work with tDCS, TMS, EEG and fMRI.    

Qualifications

Lancaster University: Psychology BSc (Hons)
Birmingham University: PhD Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience

Biography

Research Interests

Anomalous cognition, Hallucinations / delusions, Selective attention, Anomalous bodily experiences, Awareness & Consciousness, Cognitive psychology, Neuropsychology, Neuroscience, Visual cognition, Psychophysiology / Electrodermal activity, Emotional processes, Embodiment, Disembodiment and Emotion 

Current post

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Psychology & Brain Science

Previous post(s)

Lecturer in Psychology & Neuroscience
Senior Roberts Fellowship Research Fellow (2005-2010)
British Academy Research Fellow (2003-2006)
Economic and Social Research Council - Research Fellow (2002-2003)

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

  • PhD supervision
  • MRes - supervision
  • Undergraduate project supervision
  • Level 3 (3rd Year) module: Hallucinations & Delusions in the Normal, Pathological and Clinical Population
  • Critical thinking resources (all Levels)

Postgraduate supervision

Prospective research students

I welcome enquiries from potential students who are interested in pursuing projects in any of my research areas. I am happy to supervise research projects for final-year undergraduates, Mres students and invite students interested in pursuing a PhD to discuss such possibilities. Current ongoing projects are in the field of anomalous bodily experiences, hallucinations of the self, embodiment, anomalous cognition, neurocognitive correlates of hallucination.

Previous PhD students

Lucy Andrews (ESRC 3+1 studentship) completed Nov 2010

Previous MSc students

Emma Broglia, Lucy Andrews , Lucy Joyce, Hayley Dewe, Kelly James

Research

Research Interests

Selective Attention, Awareness, Consciousness

My central research interests are in the fields of Visual Cognition, Cognitive Neuropsychology and Visual Cognitive Neuroscience. More specifically, I am interested in the role of visual selective attention in visual awareness. Much of my work has revolved around using visual search techniques to investigate instances of 'sustained inattentional-blindness' to new information as a function of the information observers are currently ignoring.

Perspective taking

During normal perceptual experience the brain is capable of constructing a number of perspective-based representations based in differing frames-of reference (i.e., egocentric, allocentric, exocentric). With colleagues (Dr Dana Samson & Dr Ian Apperly) we are investigating the processes of how we adopt the visual perspective of others in order to imagine and reason about the world from their point of view (perspective taking).

Hallucination/Anomalous Cognition/Delusions

Studying the brain and cognition when it goes wrong has been a helpful approach to both neuropsychology (i.e., brain-damaged patients) and clinical neurophysiology (i.e., experiences associated with schizophrenia, pathologies, illness etc). Similarly, investigating instances of anomalous cognition in normal observers can be very revealing for brain-models of behaviour. I am interested in many aspects in relation to hallucinations/delusions in both the normal population and patient groups. I am also interested in the cognitive neuroscience of strange experiences, with particular reference to Anomalous bodily experiences including; the Out-of-Body Experience (OBE), Near-Death Experiences (NDE), the Sensed presence experience (SPE), breakdowns in Self-monitoring, Reality Discrimination, Anomalous beliefs, Visual Aura etc. Just what can the strange experience tell us about the functioning of the human brain?"

Awards/Fellowships/grants received

The Bial Foundation (2013 - 2015). The Depersonalized Brain. Psychophysiological correlates of cortical suppression and hyperexcitability associated with signs of depersonalization, derealization, and dissociation in non-clinical samples.  (42,650 Euros).

The Leverhulme trust (2012 - 2015). Corticial hyperexcitability and the out-of-body experience (£131,834)

Bial Foundation – (2010 - 2013) Cognitive correlates of the out-of-body experience and kindred hallucinations of the self (£31,000)

BBSRC (2009 - 2012) visual search in 4D - an fMRI study (£625,324: in collaboration – Glyn Humphreys)

Experimental Psychology Society (2009); £2000 Neurophysiology of selective attention

UK-Skeptics: (2009: non-for-profit educational charity) equipment grant for Cognitive correlates of the out-of-body experience (£2550)

UK-Skeptics: (2010: non-for-profit educational charity) equipment grant for Hallucinations of self-reduplication. (£1500)

ESRC 3+1 MSc / PhD studentship programme for Lucy Andrews (2006-2010)

British Academy Small Research Grant 2004 (£4000). Visual selection over space and time

Birmingham 5-year RCUK Research Fellowship (Roberts Fellowship) Awarded 2005. How the brain represents and selects visual information for awareness (£228,287)

British Academy 3-year Postdoctoral Fellowship 2003-2006. Perceptual organisation and attentional selection over space and time (£55,832)

ESRC 1 year Postdoctoral Fellowship 2002-2003. Spatio-temporal aspects of visual attention (£28,825)

School of Psychology 3-year PhD studentship 1999-2002. Visual search in space and time: Where attention and inattention collide (£26,000)

Other activities

I support the promotion of Psychology, Neuroscience and Science in the public domain. I have written accessible documents in this area and provide student resources and lectures on critical thinking/scientific reasoning. I also lecture widely at public science events/conferences.

I am also a member and supporter of 'Sense about Science'. I have made numerous media appearances to promote my research. My work has been covered by BBCR4 "All in the mind" and "The Big Bang", National Geographic Channel, Sky Discovery, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, The Times Online, The Daily Telegragh Magazine, The Guardian, New Scientist, The [UK] Skeptic magazine, British Festival of Science (2010 Aston University), and numerous regional media.

I am also a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) ambassador as part of promoting the wider engagement with science.

Laboratory

Established and heads the Selective Attention & Awareness laboratory (SAAL) in the School of Psychology. The laboratory is equipped with the latest PCs and software for behavioural experiments (E-prime, Presentation, Matlab, C++, DMDX), fast and stable CRT monitors (120Hz) for visual presentations.

Admin & Committee

Psychology - Deputy Admissions (2012 - present)

Psychology - Teaching and Learning committee (2006-present)

Psychology - Deputy UG tutor (2010 – 2011)

Psychology - Deputy plagiarism officer (2012)

Psychology - Deputy Open-days officer(2012-present)

LES College – Teaching & learning enhancement committee (2010-2012)

Other interests

  • Learning to play electric lead guitar
  • G&L electric guitars

Publications

Selected recent publications

2014 - 2012

Braithwaite, J.J., Mevorach, C., & Takahashi, C (submitted).  Stimulating the Aberrant Brain: Evidence for Increased Cortical Hyperexcitability from a transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) study of Individuals Predisposed to Anomalous Perceptions.  Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

Braithwaite, J.J., Marchant, R., Takahashi, C., Dewe, H., & Watson, D (submitted). The Cortical Hyperexcitability Index (CHi): A new measure for quantifying correlates of cortical hyperexcitability. The Journal of Psychological Assessment

Braithwaite, J.J., Broglia, E., & Watson, D.G (2014).  Autonomic emotional responses to the induction of the rubber-hand illusion in those that report anomalous bodily experiences: Evidence for specific psychophysiological components associated with illusory body representations.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 40(3), 1131-1145

Braithwaite, J.J., James, K., Dewe, H., Medford, N., Takahashi, C., & Kessler, K (2013). Fractionating the unitary notion of dissociation: Disembodied but not embodied dissociative experiences are associated with exocentric perspective-taking. Frontiers in Neuroscience.  7:719. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00719.

Braithwaite, J.J., Broglia, E., Bagshaw, A.P, Wilkins, A.J. (2013) Evidence of elevated cortical hyperexcitability and its association with out-of-body experiences in the non-clinical population: New findings from a Pattern-Glare Task.  Cortex. 49, 793-805.

Braithwaite, J.J., Broglia, E., Brincat, O., Stapley, L., Wilkins, A.J., & Takahashi, C (2013). Signs of elevated cortical hyperexcitability associated with spontaneous anomalous bodily experiences in the non-clinical population.  Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, DOI.org/1080/13546805.2013.768176.

Dent, K., Humphreys, G. W., & Braithwaite, J. J. (2011). Spreading Suppression and the Guidance of Search by Movement: Evidence from negative color carry-over effects. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 18, 690-696.

Dent, K., Humphreys, G. W., He, X., & Braithwaite, J. J. (in press, 2014). Surface-based constraints on target selection and distractor rejection: Evidence from preview search. Vision Research.

Dent, K., Allen, H., Braithwaite, J. J., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Parallel distractor rejection as a binding mechanism in search. Frontiers in Psychology, 3:278.

Dent, K., Braithwaite, J. J., He, X., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Integrating space and time in visual search: How the preview benefit is modulated by stereoscopic depth. Vision Research, 65, 45-61.

Dent, K., Allen, H. A., Braithwaite, J. J., & Humphreys, G. W. (2012). Inhibitory guidance in visual search: the case of movement-form conjunctions. Attention Perception & Psychophysics, 74, 269-284.

2012-2010

Braithwaite, J.J., & Dent, K. (2011) New perspectives on perspective-taking mechanisms and the out-of-body experience,  Cortex, 47, 628-632.

Braithwaite, J.J., Hulleman, J., Samson, D. & Apperly, I. (2011) Cognitive correlates of the spontaneous out-of-body experience in the psychologically normal population: Evidence for a role of temporal-lobe disturbance, body-distortion processing, and impairments in own- body transformations.  Cortex(47), 839-853.

Braithwaite, J.J., Hulleman, J, Andrews, L. & Humphreys, G.W. (2010) Measuring the spread of spreading suppression: A time-course analysis of spreading suppression and its impact on attentional selection.  Vision Research, 50, 346-356.

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys, G.W., Andrews, L., & Watson, D.G. (2010) Visual Search at Isoluminance: Evidence for Enhanced Color Weighting in Standard Sub-set and Preview-Based Visual Search  Vision Research.50(14), 1414-1425.

Samson, D, Apperly, I..A., Braithwaite, J.J., Andrews, B.J., & Bodley Scott, S.E. (2010) Seeing it their way: What other people see is calculated by low-level and early acting processes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36,  1255-1266.

Andrews, L., Watson, D.G., Humphreys, G.W., & Braithwaite, J.J., (2011) Increased feature-based inhibition contributes to attentional blindness in dynamic visual search.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance.(37)4, 1007-1016

2009 – 2006

Braithwaite, J.J., & Humphreys, G.W. (2007) Filtering items of mass distraction: Top-down biases against distractors are necessary for the feature-based carry-over to occur. Vision   Research, 47, 1570-1583.

Watson, D.G., Braithwaite, J.J. & Humphreys, G.W. (2008). Resisting change: The influence of luminance changes on visual marking and the preview benefit. Perception & Psychophysics,       70, 1526-1539.

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys., G.W., Hulleman, J, & Watson, D.G. (2007) Fast color grouping And late color inhibition: Evidence for distinct temporal windows for separate processes in preview search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 33    (3), 503-517.

Braithwaite, J. J., Hulleman, J., Watson, D. G., & Humphreys, G. W. (2006). Is it impossible to inhibit isoluminant items or does it simply take longer? Evidence from preview search. Perception  & Psychophysics, 68(2), 290-300.

Humphreys, G.W., Olivers, C.N.L., & Braithwaite, J.J. (2006) The time course of preview search with colour defined, not luminance defined, stimuli. Perception & Psychophysics, 68, (8), 1351-1358

Hodsoll, J., Braithwaite, J.J., & Humphreys, G.W. (2006) Dissociating similarity, salience, and top-down processes in search for linearly-separable size targets. Perception &    Psychophysics, 68 (4), 558-570.

Olivers, C.N.L., Humphreys, G.W., & Braithwaite, J.J. (2006) The preview search task: Evidence for visual marking. Visual Cognition, 14 (4/5/6/7/8), 716-735.

2004-2005

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys, G.W., & Hulleman, J (2005) Color-based grouping and inhibition In visual search: Evidence from a probe-detection analysis of preview search. Perception &    Psychophysics, 67 (1), 81-101.

Braithwaite, J. J., Humphreys, G. W., Watson, D. G., & Hulleman, J. (2005). Revisiting preview search benefits at isoluminance: New onsets are not necessary for the preview advantage. Perception & Psychophysics, 67(7), 1214-1228.

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys, G.W., & Hodsoll, J. (2004) Effects of colour on preview search:  Anticipatory and inhibitory biases for colour. Spatial Vision: 17,(4-5), 389-425.

Humphreys, G.W., Braithwaite, J.J., Olivers, C.N.L., & Watson, D.G. (2004) Dynamic uses of memory in visual search over time and space. In H. Nobotu & C. McLeod (Eds.), Dynamic processes in memory. New York: Academic Press.

2003 – 2002

Braithwaite, J.J. & Humphreys, G. W., (2003) Inhibition and anticipation in visual search: Evidence from preview search for color defined static items. Perception & Psychophysics, 65 (2), 213-237.

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys, G.W., & Hodsoll, J. (2003) Color grouping in space and time: Evidence from negative color-based carry-over effects in preview search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 29,(4), 758-778.

Delvenne, J.F., Braithwaite, J.J., Riddoch, M.J., & Humphreys, G.W. (2003) Capacity limits in visual short-term memory for local orientations. Current Psychology of Cognition. 21(6), 685-  696

Presentations / Conferences / Posters

Braithwaite, J.J., & Dewe, H (2014). The dark side of the mind: Inducing anomalous bodily experiences in those predisposed to hallucinatory out-of-body experiences. Presentation given at the Annual scientific meeting of the Psychobiology section of the British Psychological Society, Sept 2014, UK.

Dewe, H., & Braithwaite, J.J (2014). Neurocognitive correlates of anomalous body experiences with the induction of the rubber-hand illusion. The 25th Anniversary meeting of The British Neuropsychological Society. Oxford, June 2014.

Takahashi, C., & Braithwaite (2014). The presence of aberrant perceptions and hallucination reflects a hyperexcitable cortex: Evidence from a Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) study on non-clinical hallucinators. The 25th Anniversary meeting of The British Neuropsychological Society. Oxford, June 2014.

Takahashi, C., & Braithwaite,J.J (2014). Neuroscience and anomalous experience: Cortical hyperexcitability and the out-of-body experience. Presentation given at the Annual conference of the British Psychological Society, May 2014, Birmingham, UK.

Braithwaite, J.J., & Dewe, H (2014). The dark side of the mind: Inducing anomalous bodily experiences in those predisposed to out-of-body experiences.  Presentation given at the Annual conference of the British Psychological Society, May 2014, Birmingham, UK.

Takahashi, C., & Braithwaite,J.J  (2014). Neuroscience and anomalous experience: Corticaly hyperexcitability and the out-of-body experience.  Presentation given at the Annual conference of the British Psychological Society, May 2014, Birmingham, UK

O'Sullivan, N., Berntall, R.P., Braithwaite, J.J., Sharp, H., Smith-Donnellson, W., Bolda, R., Millward, A., & Bertamini, M (2013).  When the self goes AWOL: the rubber-hand illusion in depersonalization and hallucination-proneness. Experimental Psychology Society, Bangor meeting, UK. July 2013.   

Braithwaite, J. J. & Broglia, E. (2012). A psychophysiological investigation into the Electrodermal components underlying the Rubber-hand illusion in those who report out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and kindred hallucinations of the 'self'.  Presentation given to 16th Annual meeting of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, July, 2012, Brighton UK. 

Braithwaite, J. J. & Broglia, E. (2012). Autonomic Emotional Responses to the Induction of the Rubber-hand Illusion in those that Report Out-of-Body Experiences and Kindred Hallucinations of the ‘self’.  Evidence for Psychophysiological Components Associated with illusory Body Representations. Experimental Psychology Society, Hull meeting. 

Dent, K., Allen, H. A., Braithwaite, J. J., & Humphreys, G. W. (2011). Selective conjunctive suppression in visual search. Oral presentation, Experimental Psychology Society, London    Meeting.

Andrews, L & Braithwaite, J.J (2010) The attentional cost of feature-based inhibition’.  Vision Science Society Annual Meeting 2010, Naples, Florida‘.

Dent, K., Braithwaite, J. J., Allen, H. A., & Humphreys, G. W. (2010). Selective conjunctive suppression in visual search for motion – form conjunctions. Oral presentation, Vision Science Society, Florida, USA.

Andrews, L. & Braithwaite, J.J. (2010) Re-examining the capacity limits of negative priming: Evidence for negative priming with multiple distractors. Experimental Psychology Society. Manchester meeting, UK.

Braithwaite, J.J., Hulleman, J., & Samson D.  (2010) Cognitive correlates of the Out-of-Body Experience (OBE) in the psychologically normal population. Experimental Psychology Society. Manchester meeting, UK.

Andrews, L & Braithwaite, J.J. (2009)  Do inhibitory processes underlie instances of sustained inattentional blindness? Evidence for feature-based inhibition from dynamic visual search. Experimental Psychology Society Meeting, University of Leicester

Andrews, L. & Braithwaite, J.J. (2009) invited talk – Warwick University; Feature-based carry- over effects in dynamic preview search.

Andrews, L. & Braithwaite, J.J. (2008) An increased role for feature-based inhibition in failures of awareness under dynamic search conditions. Paper presented at the 25th Anniversary British Psychology Society, Cognitive Section, Southampton University.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2008) Are inhibitory processes implicated in failures of awareness? Presentation given at the Cognitive Neuroscience Conference, Birmingham University.

Braithwaite, J.J., & Humphreys, G.W. (2007) Filtering items of mass distraction: Top-down biases against distractors are necessary for the feature-based carry-over to occur. Poster presented at the joint Experimental Psychology Society meeting & Psychonomic Society meeting, University of  Edinburgh, UK.

Braithwaite, J.J., & Humphreys, G.W. (2006) Negative impacts from the successful filtering of irrelevant items: The necessary role of top-down processes for inhibitory carry-over effects in search.  Experimental Psychology Society meeting.  Birmingham University, UK.

Watson, D.G., Humphreys, G.W., Braithwaite, J.J. (2006) Time-based visual selection: Effects of luminance changes to old stimuli.  Experimental Psychology Society meeting.  Birmingham University, UK.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2004) Group-based and feature-based inhibition:  Further evidence from a probe detection analysis of preview search.   Experimental Psychology Society meeting.  Lancaster University, UK.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2003) Inhibitory coding in preview search.  Experimental Psychology Society workshop on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Selective Attention. Wales, UK.

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys, G.W., & Hulleman, J (2003) Probing distractor inhibition in preview search: A role for grouping and inhibition revealed via a luminance probe technique. Experimental Psychology Societymeeting, Reading, UK.   

Braithwaite, J.J., Humphreys, G.W., & Hodsoll, J (2002) Colour grouping in space and time: Evidence from negative colour-based carry-over effects in preview search. Presented at the Experimental Psychology Society meeting, Leuven, Belgium.

Braithwaite, J.J. & Humphreys, G.W. (2000) Ignoring colour in visual search: Inattentional insights from the preview search paradigm.  Presentation at the Chaos 2000 conference, Skipton, England.

Other peer-reviewed publications (as part of wider engagement)

Braithwaite, J. J.(2011). Magnetic fields, hallucinations and anomalous experiences: A skeptical critique of the current evidence.  The[UK] Skeptic. (22, 23)4-1, 38-45.

Braithwaite, J. J.(2010). Neuromagnetic effects on anomalous cognitive experiences: A critical appraisal of the evidence for induced sensed-presence and haunt-type experiences. NeuroQuantology, (8)4, 517-530.

Braithwaite, J. J. (2008). Towards a cognitive neuroscience of the dying brain. The [UK] Skeptic, 21(2), 8-16.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2008) Putting Magnetism in its Place: A Critical Examination of the Weak- Intensity Magnetic field Account for Anomalous Haunt-type Experiences. Journal For the Society of Psychical Research. 890, 34-50.

Braithwaite, J.J, & Townsend, M (2008) Sleeping With the Entity; Part II: Temporally Complex Distortions in the Magnetic field from Human Movement in a Bed Located in an English Castles Reputedly Haunted Bedroom. European Journal of Parapsychology. 23.1, 90-126.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2006) Using digital magnetometry to quantify anomalous magnetic fields associated with spontaneous strange experiences: The magnetic anomaly detection system (M.A.D.S). Journal of Parapsychology,69(1), 151-171.

Braithwaite, J.J., & Townsend, M. (2006) Good vibrations: The case for a specific effect of infrasound in instances of anomalous experience has yet to be empirically demonstrated.  Journal for the Society of Psychical Research, 70 (885), 211-224.

Braithwaite, J. J., Perez-Aquino, K., & Townsend, M. (2005). In search of magnetic anomalies associated with haunt-type experiences: Pulses and patterns in dual time-synchronized measurements. Journal of Parapsychology, 68(2), 255-288.

Braithwaite, J.J., & Townsend, M. (2005) Sleeping with the entity: A quantitative magnetic investigation of an English castle's reputedly haunted bedroom. European Journal of  Parapsychology. 20.1, 65-78.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2004) Magnetic variances associated with haunt-type experiences: A comparison using time-synchronised baseline measurements. European Journal of  Parapsychology. 19, 3-28.

Invited Talks

Braithwaite, J.J. (2012) Neurocognitive correlates of the out-of-body experience in the non- clinical population.  January 2012.  Goldsmiths University college, London.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2011) The body in the brain: Neurocognitive correlates of the out-of-body experience.  November, 2011, University of Warwick.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2011) Neurocognitive correlates of the out-of-body experience in the non- clinical population.  November, 2011, University of Kent.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2011) Towards a cognitive neuroscience of the out-of-body experience.  May 2011, University of Hull.

Braithwaite, J.J. (2011) Cognitive correlates of the out-of-body experience.  May 2011.  University of Liverpool.   

Braithwaite, J.J. (2006)  Feature-based carry-over effects mediate failures of awareness in dynamic preview search.  Warwick University, UK

Braithwaite, J.J. (2003) Feature-based inhibition and inattentional-blindness.  Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

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