Hayley Dewe

Hayley Dewe

School of Psychology
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

PhD Title: Investigating the neurocognitive correlates of anomalous and dissociative experience of self-consciousness and embodiment.  

PhD Supervisor: Dr Jason Braithwaite

Hayley is undertaking doctoral research into the neurocognitive correlates of hallucinatory experiences and aberrant distortions of self-consciousness and embodiment / body awareness. Specifically, Hayley investigates predisposition to anomalous and dissociative experiences of the self and body, for instance Out-of-Body experiences and sub-clinical signs of Depersonalization / Derealization. Her experimental research includes investigating the susceptibility to illusions / distortions in embodiment during the Rubber-Hand Illusion, and autonomic emotional processing toward aversive stimuli (including simulated threat procedures) via event-related psychophysiology (electrodermal activity: skin conductance responses and finger / body temperature). 


BSc Psychology (Birmingham)
MRes Psychology (Birmingham)


Hayley completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology, followed by her Masters of Research in Psychology, both at the University of Birmingham.


Hayley is a member of the Selective Awareness and Attention Laboratory (SAAL), formerly directed by Dr Jason Braithwaite. Her research interests include the investigation of neurocognitive correlates of hallucinations, delusions and anomalous cognitions, such as: 

  • Embodiment & hallucinatory experiences of the ‘Self’ e.g. susceptibility to the Rubber Hand Illusion. 
  • Anomalous bodily experiences e.g. Out-of-Body Experiences and Depersonalization / Derealization.
  • Cortical hyperexcitability and visual stress in non-clinical populations and those with migraine (with / without aura) using Pattern Glare computer tasks and Colorimetry methodology.
  • Scientific accounts of Near-Death experiences.
  • Sensed presence / Religiosity / Paranormal experiences.
  • Emotional processing & event-related psychophysiology. 
  • Perspective-taking mechanisms – self vs. other.

Other activities

Alongside her PhD, Hayley was hired as a Research Assistant to investigate cortical hyperexcitability and dissociative experiences using Pattern Glare and Colorimetry methodology, and held a second Research Assistant position assisting the development of a new test battery of emotionally salient, body-threatening stimuli.

Co-organised a launch Conference for the new, Aberrant Experience and Belief research theme at the University of Birmingham (April, 2015). For more information, see the Imperfect Cognitions Blog by Ema Sullivan-Bissett.

Featured on, and written articles / blogs for the British Psychological Society, Psychobiology section newsletter, the Imperfect Cognitions Blog, part of Project Perfect at the University of Birmingham (2014 and 2015), and the UK Skeptic magazine.

Teaching Assistant (small group leader) for Level 3 (3rd Year UG) module: Hallucinations & Delusions in the Normal, Pathological and Clinical Population.

Hosted and conducted experimental demonstrations to comedian and popular BBC radio presenter Robin Ince – see University news report here.

Appeared on BBC News and in regional Newspapers promoting research on the Rubber-Hand Illusion in the Selective Awareness and Attention Laboratory. For more information, view BBC’s David Gregory Kumar’s report here.


Braithwaite, J. J., Watson, D. G., & Dewe, H. (2017: Manuscript under review). Predisposition to Out-of-body Experiences (OBEs) is Associated with Aberrant Emotional Responses to Body-Threats: Psychophysiological Support for Interoceptive Predictive Coding Accounts of the Disembodied Self.

Dewe, H., Watson, D. G., & Braithwaite, J. J. (2016). Uncomfortably numb: new evidence for suppressed emotional reactivity in response to body-threats in those predisposed to sub-clinical dissociative experiences. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 21, 5, 377 – 401.

Braithwaite, J.J., Marchant, R., Takahashi, C., Dewe, H., & Watson, D (2015). The Cortical Hyperexcitability Index (CHi): A new measure for quantifying correlates of visually driven cortical hyperexcitability. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry (20), 4, 330-348. doi:10.1080/13546805.2015.1040152.

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.

Presentations / Conferences / Posters

Dewe, H. (2016). Cognitive Correlates of the Dissociated Mind: An Examination of Emotional and Cognitive Factors Underlying Predisposition to Aberrant Experiences in Self-Consciousness. Presentation given at the Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, UK. 

Dewe, H., & Braithwaite, J.J. (2015). The Dissociated self: aberrant emotional responses from observing others receive a realistic ‘body threat’ are associated with dissociative anomalous body experiences. The British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section. Annual Scientific Meeting. September 2015, Lake District, UK. 

Braithwaite, J.J., & Dewe, H (2015). Comfortably numb: new evidence for suppressed emotional reactivity in those predisposed to sub-clinical dissociative experiences of the embodied self. The British Psychological Society Psychobiology Section. Annual Scientific Meeting. September 2015, UK.

Dewe, H., & Braithwaite, J.J. (2014). The Dissociated Self: Realistic Threats to one’s own Body Reveals Suppression in Autonomic Emotional Reactivity in those Predisposed to Dissociative Hallucinatory Experiences of the Self. Annual Scientific Meeting of the British Association for Cognitive Neuroscience. September 2014, York, UK.

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. The Annual scientific meeting of the Psychobiology section of the British Psychological Society. September 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. June 2014, Oxford, 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. The Annual conference of the British Psychological Society. May 2014, Birmingham, UK.

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