Dr Alexandre Schaefer
Office hour: Thursday 2-3
Born and raised in Brazil (click here to see where), I completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Louvain (Belgium) in 1998. Next, I did a PhD on cognitive models of emotion at the University of Louvain. Next, I went to the US to work as a postdoctoral researcher first at Washington University in St. Louis, and next at Yale University. I later moved to the UK where I have been working since 2006. I currently supervise 4 PhD students: Claire Pottage, Faisal Mushtaq, Sarah Watts, Nazool-e Tabassum and a postdoc : Luciano Buratto. Research in our team has been mainly funded by the BBSRC and doctoral scholarships from the ESRC.
Overall, I am interested in how emotions interact with human cognition, using a variety of behavioural and neuroimaging methods (EEG/ERP, fMRI). Here are some specific lines of research:
1) Neuroeconomics: Decision-making under uncertainty and risk. How can we adapt to highly uncertain and volatile environments? How can we make optimal decisions in such environments? What neural processes enable us to learn in uncertain contexts? How can we enhance learning and decision-making in uncertain contexts?
2) Emotion and Memory: Why are emotional memories so special? Why are they so vivid and detailed when compared to neutral memories? Can emotions distort memories? Can emotions lead to false remembering? What causes some emotional events to be apparently erased from our memory? What are the neural mechanisms controlling the interactions between emotion and memory?
3) Emotion and cognitive control. In what ways emotion interacts with attention and executive function? Is working memory capacity necessary for emotional processing? Does the amygdala play a role in human cognition? What are the implications for emotion regulation? How can we enhance cognitive performance under high levels of emotional stress?
- Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
- Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
- Social, Emotional and Evolutionary Psychology
Edited works: contributions
- Schaefer, A. (2008). La contribution de la neuroimagerie fonctionnelle à l’étude des émotions humaines. In Psychopathologie et Neurosciences: Questions actuelles de neurosciences cognitives et affectives. S. Campanella & E. Streel Brussels: De Boeck. 75-99.
- Gray, J.R., Schaefer, A., Braver, T.S. & Most, S. (2005). Emotion and control dilemmas. In Emotion: Conscious and unconscious. L. Feldman Barrett, P. Niedenthal & P. Winkielman New York: Guilford. 67-96.
- Philippot, P. & Schaefer, A. (2001). Emotion and memory. In Emotion and memory. In (Eds.) Emotion: current issues and future directions. T.J. Mayne & G.A. Bonanno New York: Guilford. 82-122.
Journal papers: academic
- Mushtaq. F. Stoet, G. Bland, A.R. & Schaefer, A. (2013). Relative changes from prior reward contingencies can constrain brain correlates of outcome monitoring. PLOS One
- O’Connor, D.B., Walker, S., Hendrickx, H., Talbot, D., & Schaefer, A. (2013). Stress-related thinking predicts the cortisol awakening response and somatic symptoms in healthy adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology 38(3): 438-446.
- Bland, A.R. & Schaefer, A. (2012). Different varieties of uncertainty in human decision-making. Frontiers in Neuroscience 6:85: DOI:10.3389/fnins.2012.00085.
- Pottage, C.L. & Schaefer, A. (2012). Visual attention and emotional memory: Recall of aversive pictures is partially mediated by concurrent task performance. Emotion 12(1): 33-38.
- Walker, S., O’Connor D.B. & Schaefer, A. (2011). Brain potentials to emotional pictures are modulated by alexithymia during emotion regulation. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neurosciences
- Bland, A.R. & Schaefer, A. (2011). Electrophysiological correlates of decision making under varying levels of uncertainty. Brain Research 1417: 55-66.
- Schaefer, A., Pottage, C.L & Rickart, A.J. (2011). Electrophysiological correlates of remembering emotional pictures. Neuroimage 54(1): 714-724.
- Walker, S., O’Connor D.B., Schaefer, A., Talbot, D. & Hendrickx, H. (2011). The Cortisol Awakening Response: Associations with trait anxiety and stress reactivity. Personality and Individual Differences 51(2): 123-127
- King, R. & Schaefer, A. (2011). The emotional startle effect is disrupted by a concurrent working memory task. Psychophysiology 48(2): 269-276.
- Mushtaq, F.; Bland, A. R. & Schaefer, A. (2011). Uncertainty and Cognitive Control. Frontiers in Psychology 2: 249.
- Mermillod, M., Droit-Volet, S., Devaux, D., Schaefer, A. & Vermeulen, N. (2010). Are coarse scales sufficient for fast detection of visual threat?. Psychological Science 21(10): 1429-1437.
- Schaefer, A., Nils, F., Sanchez, X. & Philippot, P. (2010). Assessing the effectiveness of a large database of emotion-eliciting films: A new tool for emotion researchers. Cognition and Emotion 24(7): 1153-1172.
- Brown, C. & Schaefer, A. (2010). The effects of conformity on recognition judgments for emotional stimuli. Acta Psychologica 133: 38-44.
- Schaefer A., Fletcher, K., Pottage, C., Alexander, K. & Brown, C. (2009). The effects of emotional intensity on ERP correlates of recognition memory. Neuroreport 20(3): 319-324.
- Fales, C.L., Barch, D.M. Burgess, G.C., Schaefer, A. Mennin, D.S.A., Braver, T.S. & Gray, J.R. (2008). Anxiety and cognitive efficiency: Differential modulation of transient and sustained neural activity during a working memory task. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience 8: 239-253.
- Schaefer, A. & Gray, J.R. (2007). A role for the human amygdala in higher cognition. Reviews in the Neurosciences 18(5): 355-364.
- Schaefer, A., Braver, T.S., Reynolds, J.R., Burgess, G.C., Yarkoni, T., !& Gray & J.R. (2006). Individual differences in amygdala activity predict response speed during working memory. 26(40): . Journal of Neuroscience 26(40): 10120-10128.
- Gray, J.R., Burgess, G.C., Schaefer, A., Yarkoni, T., Larsen, R.J. & Braver, T.S. (2005). Affective personality differences in neural processing efficiency confirmed using fMRI. 5(2), . Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neurosciences 5(2): 182-190.
- Schaefer, A. & Philippot, P. (2005). Selective effects of emotion on the phenomenal characteristics of autobiographical memories. Memory 13(2): 148-160.
- Philippot, P., Schaefer, A. & Herbette, G. (2003). Consequences of specific processing of emotional information: Impact of general versus specific autobiographical memory priming on emotion elicitation. Emotion 3: 270-283.
- Schaefer, A., Collette, F., Philippot, P., Vanderlinden, M., Laureys, S., Delfiore, G., Degueldre, C., Maquet, P., Luxen, A. & Salmon, E. (2003). Neural correlates of "hot" and "cold" emotional processing: A multilevel approach to the functional anatomy of emotions. Neuroimage 18: 938-949.
- Philippot, P., Deplus, S., Schaefer, A. & Falise, F. (2001). Le travail émotionnel en psychothérapie: application du modèle bi-mnésique des émotions au traitement des pathologies des émotions. Revue Francophone de Clinique Comportementale et Cognitive 6: 5-18.
- Madeira, M.J.P., Wainer, R., Erwig, L.R.P. & Schaefer, A. (1997). Modelos interativos de categorização difusa multidimensional: construção do software e testagem do instrumento. Temas em Psicologia 1: 93-119.
- 2010: Schaefer, A. (2010-2013). An electrophysiological investigation of emotion-enhanced recollection. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). £385,359 (fEC). REF: BB/H001476/1
- 2009: Schaefer, A. & Rickart, A. (2009). The role of attentional mechanisms in the formation of emotional memories: an electrophysiological approach. Nuffield Foundation (URB/36655).
- 2008: Schaefer, A. & Mushtaq, F. (2008). “The effect of emotional arousal on memory trace formation: an electrophysiological approach”. Nuffield foundation (URB # 35397).
- 2007: ESRC 1+3 PhD Studentship 2007-2011 (student: Amy Bland).
- 2007: Schaefer, A. & Pottage, C. (2007). “Electrophysiological investigations of emotional memories”. Nuffield foundation (URB # 34116).
- 2000: FNRS fellowship – Belgian National foundation for scientific research, 1998-2002.