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Baland Jalal

Baland Jalal

University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine

(Trinity College Cambridge)

Previously Fellow, Harvard University (2016, 2018)


Baland Jalal is a neuroscientist at Cambridge University School of Clinical Medicine. He has previously been a Fellow at Harvard University (2016, 2018) and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California at San Diego (2014). He has worked closely with the renowned neuroscientist VS Ramachandran (TIME magazine 100 most influential people in the world) since 2012. He has published over 40 papers and book chapters and is the co-author with Devon Hinton, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, of a forthcoming book (published by Cambridge University Press). He has lectured at institutions worldwide, including Harvard University, Oxford University, London School of Economics and University College London.

The Telegraph described him as “one of the world’s leading experts on sleep paralysis”. He was listed by Van Winkle (“sleep blog” by Casper Sleep) as one of the "15 Most Interesting People in Sleep" (list of researchers, writers, and cultural figures). His work has been featured in the international press in over 30 countries including, including The Washington Post, The Today Show, The BBC, Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, NBC News, New York Magazine, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine, Fox News, Discovery, New Scientist, The Naked Scientists, Discover Magazine, VICE, Science Daily, PBS (NOVA), International Business Times, YAHOO!, The Times of India, Economic Times, Fusion, Business Insider, ABC News (Australia), The Sun and  many more. He has appeared on TV, podcasts shows and radio stations shows such as BBC two (Victoria Derbyshire) and BBC one, The Pulse (NPR), Science Vs, Newstalk (Moncrieff Show), and Futureproof. 

Departments and Institutes


Research Interests

Baland Jalal's research focuses on neuropsychiatry and cognitive neuroscience. He has done research on sleep paralysis around the world (USA, Denmark, Egypt, Italy and Turkey). He recently designed one of the first ever treatments for sleep paralysis called Meditation-Relaxation Therapy (MR Therapy). Moreover, with Devon E. Hinton (Harvard Medical School), he has designed a mindfulness-based CBT (transdiagnostic) treatment manual for patients suffering from anxiety and mood disorders. With colleagues at Cambridge University he invented two smartphone apps to reduce symptoms of OCD.


  • experimental medicine
  • cognitive
  • behaviour
  • psychiatry
  • neuroscience

Key Publications

Jalal, B.,  Bruhl, A., O'Callaghan, C., Piercy, T., Cardinal, R. N, Ramachandran, V. S., &  Sahakian, B. (In press). Novel smartphone interventions improve cognitive flexibility and obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms in individuals with contamination fears. Scientific ReportsDetails.

Jalal, B. (In press). The neuropharmacology of sleep paralysis hallucinations: Serotonin 2A activation and a novel therapeutic drug. Psychopharmacology. Details.

Jalal, B., Romanelli, A., & Hinton, D. E. (In press). Sleep paralysis in Italy: frequency, hallucinatory experiences, and other features. Transcultural Psychiatry.

Jalal, B., Eskici, H. S, Acarturk, Z. C., & Hinton, D. E. (In press). Beliefs about sleep paralysis in Turkey: Karabasan. Transcultural Psychiatry.

Jalal, B. & Ramachandran, V. S. (2017). The twin vantage point paradox: a thought experiment. The Journal of Mind and Behavior38(2), 111-118. Details

Ramachandran, V. S. & Jalal, B. (2017). The evolutionary psychology of envy and jealousy. Frontiers in Psychology8, 1619. Details.

Jalal, B., Kruger, Q., & Hinton, D. E. (2017). Adaptation of CBT for traumatized South African indigenous groups: examples from Multiplex CBT for PTSD. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 25(2), 335-349. Details.

Jalal, B. & Ramachandran, V. S. (2017). Sleep paralysis, "the ghostly bedroom intruder" and out-of-body experiences: the role of mirror neurons. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11:92. Details.

Jalal, B. (2017). Response: "Commentary: How to make the ghosts in my bedroom disappear? Focused-attention meditation combined with muscle relaxation (MR therapy)—a direct treatment intervention for sleep paralysis". Frontiers in Psychology8, 760Details.

Jalal, B. & Ramachandran, V. S. (2017). “I feel your disgust and relief”: can the action understanding system (mirror neuron system) be recruited to induce disgust and relief from contamination vicariously, in individuals with obsessive–compulsive disorder symptoms? Neurocase, 23(1), 31-35. Details.

Jalal, B. (2016). How to make the ghosts in my bedroom disappear? Focused-attention meditation combined with muscle relaxation (MR therapy)—a direct treatment intervention for sleep paralysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:28. Details.

Jalal, B. & Hinton D. E. (2016) Lifetime presence and rates of sleep paralysis in Denmark of ethnic Danes and non-ethnic Danes. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 70(6), 253-253. Details.  

Jalal, B., Samir, W. S., & Hinton D. E. (2016). Adaptation of CBT for traumatized Egyptians: Examples from culturally adapted CBT (CA-CBT). Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 24(1), 58-71. Details.

Jalal, B., Krishnakumar, D., & Ramachandran, V. S. (2015). “I feel contaminated in my fake hand”: Obsessive-compulsive-like disgust sensations arise from dummy during rubber hand illusion. PLoS one, 10(12), e0139159. Details.

Jalal, B., Romanelli, A., & Hinton, D. E. (2015). Cultural explanations of sleep paralysis in Italy: The pandafeche attack and associated supernatural beliefs. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 39(4), 651-664. Details.

Jalal, B. & Hinton, D. E. (2015). Sleep paralysis among Egyptian college students: Association with anxiety symptoms (PTSD, trait anxiety, pathological worry). The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 203(11), 871-875. Details.

Jalal, B. & Ramachandran, V. S. (2014). Sleep paralysis and the shadowy bedroom intruder: The role of the right superior parietal, phantom pain and projection of body image. Medical Hypotheses, 83(6), 755-757. Details.

Jalal, B. & Ramachandran, V. S. (2014). A pilot investigation of “metaphor blindness” in a college student population. Medical hypotheses82(6), 648-651. Details.

Jalal, B., Settlage, B. L., & Ramachandran, V. S. (2014). Science, epistemology, and future prospects for psychoanalysis. Neuropsychoanalysis16(2), 115-127. Details.

Abuhamdeh, S., Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Jalal, B. (2014). Enjoying the possibility of defeat: Outcome uncertainty, suspense, and intrinsic motivation. Motivation and Emotion39(1), 1-10. Details.

Jalal, B [Baland], Simons-Rudolph, J., Jalal, B [Bamo], & Hinton, D. E. (2014). Explanations of sleep paralysis among the general population in Egypt and Denmark. Transcultural Psychiatry51, 158-175. Details.

Jalal, B. & Hinton, D. E. (2013). Rates and characteristics of sleep paralysis in the general population of Denmark and Egypt. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 37, 534-548. Details.

Jalal, B. & Amir, N. (2013). Semantic priming and interpretation bias in social anxiety disorder. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 38, 23-32. Details.


Other Publications

Acarturk, C., Alyanak, B., Cetinkaya, M., Gulen, B., Jalal, B., Hinton, D., E. (In press). Adaptation of transdiagnostic CBT for Turkish adolescents: Examples from Culturally Adapted Multiplex CBT (CA Multiplex CBT). Cognitive and Behavioral Practice.

Hinton, D. E. & Jalal, B.  (In Press). Dimensions of culturally sensitive CBT: Application to Southeast Asian populations. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Acarturk, Z., C., Abuhamdeh,, S., Jalal, B., Unaldi, N, Alyanak,, B., Cetinkaya, M, Gulen, B, Hinton, D.E. (In Press) Culturally adapted transdiagnostic CBT for SSRI-resistant Turkish adolescents: A pilot study. American Journal of OrthopsychiatryDetails.

 Jalal, B., Romanelli, A., & Hinton, D. E. (In press). Sleep paralysis in Italy: Terrifying ghosts and witches and symptoms of psychopathology (PTSD and Depression). Psypag Quarterly.

Becker, M., Vignoles, V. L., Owe, E., Easterbrook, M., Brown., R Smith, P. B.,...& Abuhamdeh, S. (2017). Being oneself through time: Bases of self-continuity across 55 cultures. Self and Identity, 1-18. Details.

Vignoles, V. L., Owe, E., Becker, M., Smith, P. B., Easterbrook, M., Brown., R...& Bond, M. H. (2016). Beyond the 'East-West' dichotomy: Global variation in cultural models of selfhood. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145(8), 966. Details.

Smith, P. B., Vignoles, V. L., Becker, M., Owe, E., Easterbrook, M. J., Brown, R…. Harb, C. (2016). Individual and culture-level components of survey response styles: A multi-level analysis using cultural models of selfhood. International Journal of Psychology, 51(6), 453-463. Details.

Jalal, B. (2016). Sleep paralysis. In World Book studentDetails.

Jalal, B. (2016). Lucid dreams. In World Book studentDetails.

Jalal. B. (2015). Further thoughts on “metaphor blindness”: Implications and future avenues of research. Medical hypotheses, 85(6), 1044. Details.

Hinton, D. E. & Jalal, B. (2014). Parameters for creating culturally sensitive CBT: Implementing CBT in global settings. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 21, 139-144. Details.

Hinton, D. E., Ojserkis, R., Jalal, B., & Hofmann, S. G. (2014). Loving kindness to treat traumatized refugees and minority groups: A typology of mindfulness and nodal network model of affect. Journal of Clinical Psychology69, 817-828. Details.

Hinton, D. E. & Jalal, B. (2014). Guidelines for the implementation of cultural sensitive CBT among refugees and globally. Intervention, 12, 78-93. Details.

Jalal, B. (2014). Evidence for tai chi as a therapeutic mind-body intervention for sleep: A commentary on Raman et al.  Journal of Sleep Disorders and Therapy, 3, 2167-2177. Details.

Jalal, B., Taylor, C. T., & Hinton, D. E. (2013). A comparison of self-report and interview methods for assessing sleep paralysis: A pilot investigation in Denmark and the United States. Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment and Care, 3, 9-13. Details.

Owe, E., Vignoles, V. L., Becker, M., Brown, R., Smith, P. B., Lee, S. W… & Jalal, B. (2013). Identifying the belief component of individualism-collectivism: Contextualism across 36 national groups. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44, 24-45. Details.

Haddara, N., Jalal, B., Anderson, G. D., Amer, M. M., & Simons-Rudolph, J. M. (2012). Profile and predictors of voluntary civic engagement at a private university in Egypt. The Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice. Details.

Amer, M. & Jalal, B. (2011). Individual psychotherapy/counseling: psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral and humanistic-experiential models. In Ahmed, S. & Amer, M. (Eds). Counseling Muslims: Handbook of Mental Health Issues and Interventions. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 87-117. Details.

Jalal, B. (2011). [Review essay of the film Rushmore]. Fort da 17, 104-109. Details.


Essays and Literature 

Jalal, B. The Neuroscience of Sleep Paralysis (2017). Thrive GlobalDetails.

Jalal, B. The Candle (2017). Thrive Global. Details.


Selected Press 

NBC News - What your jealous feelings are telling you (and what you should do about them), May 2018. Details.

British Psychological Society - New intervention using a phone app may help people with OCD, November 2018. Details.

BBC two (Victoria Derbyshire Live) - Smartphone App for OCD, October 2018. Details.

The Week - Who is the Hat Man? The Nightmare Shared by Dreamers Across the World, October 2018. Details.

The Telegraph - Are You Suffering from Sleep Paralysis? October 2018. Details.

Chicago Tribune - New Hope for Those with OCD Who Scrub Their Hands until They Bleed, October 2018. Details.

The Washington Post - Obsessive-Compulsive disorder: The Simple Videos that Researchers Hope Will Help People who Scrub Their Hands Until They Bleed, October 2018. Details.

Cambridge University News - Brain Training App Helps Reduce OCD Symptoms Study Finds (Researcher Profile: Baland Jalal), October 2018. Details.

PBS (NOVA) - The Nightmare of Sleep Paralysis, August 2018. Details.

Newstalk (Futureproof) - Body Identity Integrity Disorder (radio/podcast interview), March 2018. Details.

Newstalk (Futureproof) - Sleep Paralysis (radio/podcast interview), November 2017. Details.

New Scientist - Watching Others Wash Their Hands May Relief OCD Symptoms, August 2017. Details

The Pulse (NPR) - Sleep Paralysis: How a Deep-Sleep Glitch Can Conjure the Boogeyman, July 2017. Details.

Van Winkle's - The Most Interesting People in Sleep, May 2017. (List of 15 most interesting people in sleep [researchers, writers and cultural figures]). Details.

Van Winkle's - The Sleep Habits of Great Minds: Baland Jalal, Neuroscientist, February 2017. Details.

New York Magazine - A Neuroscientist Tried to Help Me Overcome My Sleep Paralysis, July 2016. (On MR-Therapy for sleep paralysis). Details.

Business Insider - A Researcher May Have Found a Way to Treat Sleep Paralysis, The Terrifying Experience of Waking Up Unable to Move, January 2016. (On MR-Therapy for sleep paralysis). Details.

Discover Magazine - To Study OCD Scientists get Their (Rubber) Hands Dirty, December 2015. (On OCD and the rubber hand illusion). Details. 

The Guardian - Vampires, Ghosts and Demons: The Nightmare of Sleep Paralysis, October 2015. Details.