Delusional beliefs are characteristic of psychosis and, of the delusions, the paranoid delusion is the single most common type associated with psychosis. The many years of research focused on neurocognition in schizophrenia, using standardized neurocognitive tests, have failed to find conclusive cognitive deficits in relation to positive symptoms. However, UK-based psychological research has identified sociocognitive anomalies in relation to paranoid thinking in the form of theory of mind (ToM), causal reasoning and threat-related processing anomalies. Drawing from recent neuroscientific research on the default mode network, this paper asserts that the common theme running through the psychological tests that are sensitive to the cognitive impairment of paranoia is the need to cognitively project the self through time, referred to as mental time travel. Such an understanding of the cognitive roots of paranoid ideation provides a synthesis between psychological and biological accounts of psychosis while also retaining the powerful argument that understanding abnormal thinking must start with models of normal cognition. This is the core theme running through the cognitive psychological literature of psychiatric disorders that enables research from this area to inform psychological therapy.