Dr Alexandre Schaefer
Alexandre Schaefer has been a researcher in the field of cognitive psychology for 15 years. He is currently an associate professor at Monash University since 2013, and he previously worked for the universities of Durham and Leeds (UK), Washington University and Yale University (US), and the University of Louvain (Belgium). So far, his research has been funded by UK’s research councils (BBSRC and ESRC), the Belgian national fund for scientific research (FNRS), the Nuffield foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Malaysia’ FRGS and MOSTI.
He is currently interested in how the human mind interacts with its socio-economic environment, with a particular focus on populations from developing countries where income inequality is high. More generally, he is also interested in the study of human emotions and their interactions with cognitive processes. He has used multiple research methods, including field studies but also laboratory studies using neuroimaging, psychophysiological and classical behavioural techniques.
These are some of the research questions that he is currently pursuing:
Understanding the psychological effects of poverty in developing countries.
It is well-known that poverty affects cognitive performance and decision-making abilities. Many believe that this phenomenon contributes to the poverty cycle. However, little is known about HOW do socio-economic inequalities affect cognitive and behavioural performance, and very little research is available from populations in developing countries, where these issues are more pressing. To address these questions, A. Schaefer is interested in finding out the drivers of the relationship between poverty and a series of cognitive, emotional and behavioural parameters in developing countries where social inequalities are high. He is also interested in intervention programmes that can break the relationship between poverty and cognitive performance.
Cognitive Neuroscience of economic decision-making.
Deciding to buy or not specific goods and services, evaluating whether prices are cheap or expensive, wanting and desiring to acquire products are all behaviours that form the building blocks of any economic system. Surprisingly, very little is known about the brain mechanisms underlying these behaviours, although some progress has been made in recent years. A. Schaefer is interested in using EEG/ERP techniques in order to better understand and predict decision-making in applied contexts, and in particular shopping environments. In this context, He is leading the development of the “Neurobusiness” behavioural lab, a research facility hosted by Monash university’s school of business in the Malaysia campus.
A. Schaefer has taught both in the MBA programme of the School of Business (MBA 5730 Critical Thinking and Problem-solving), and in the Department of Psychology (e.g. PSYC2061 Biological Psychology).
Links to A. Schaefer's publications can be found at Google Scholar and Research Gate.
Bsc and MA in Psychology (Louvain), BA in Philosophy (Louvain), PhD in Psychology (Louvain)
Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy
Current research projects
- How are emotional and cognitive health related to socio-economic inequalities in developing countries? Can cognitive interventions help to break the poverty cycle?
- How do people make economic decisions? Can future decisions be predicted with EEG/ERP methods?
- How can emotions modulate memory processes?
Min, YM; Schaefer, A.; Ruffman, KA; Khairudin, R. & Marsh, N. (2016-2018). Empathic concern in young infants and older adults. Fundamental Research Grant Scheme, Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education, RM61,000.
Schaefer, A.; Reidpath, D. ; Poon, W.C.; Watabe, M.; Goto, N. (2016-2018). Unveiling the cognitive determinants of economic well-being in rural Malaysia. “Monash Malaysia Strategic Large Grant.” RM 194,000.
Rajaratnam, SW; Haque, S.; Schaefer, A.; Howard, M.; Wolkow, A.P. et al. (2016-2018). Industry grant, Shell Research, AUD$ 40,000.
Sen A.; Selvartnam, L.; Schaefer, A. & Naing, I. (2016-2018). Neurobehavioral Impact of 3D Interactive Augmented Reality Learning Objects from Cadaveric Morphology.Monash “Better Teaching Better Learning” Education grant. RM44,000.
Poon, W.C.; Schaefer, A.; Watabe, M.; Habibullah, M. (2015-2017). The effects of socioeconomic status on cognitive brain function among young Malaysian adults. Fundamental Research Grant Scheme, Malaysian Ministry of higher Education, RM82,000.
Tan, C.P., Kalavally, V.; Parkkinen, J. ; Haque, S. ; Schaefer; Anura Siri, D.; Lacey, D. & Kok Eng, N. (2015-2018). “Quality of Light - Impact of Visual and Non-Visual Effects” CREST R&D grant, Malaysian Ministry of Science and Technology, REF: P20C1-15. RM442,000.
Schaefer, A.; Poon, W.C.; Watabe, M.; Goto, N. (2015-2016). The effects of poverty on cognitive performance in a sample of Malaysian young adults. Socio-Economic Transformation Platform (SETA) grant. RM20,000.
Schaefer, A. (2014-2015). Electrophysiological correlates of purchasing decisions in a virtual shopping environment. Socio-Economic Transformation Platform (SETA) grant. RM10,000
Chew, Y.T. Schaefer, A. ; & Goto, N. (2016-2017). Effects of Socioeconomic status and delay discounting on purchasing activity: An EEG study. Monash School of Business seed grant. RM10,000
Schaefer, A. (2010-2013). An electrophysiological investigation of emotion-enhanced recollection. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). £385,359 (~ U$600,000). REF: BB/H001476, United Kingdom.
Schaefer, A. & Rickart, A. (2009). The role of attentional mechanisms in the formation of emotional memories: an electrophysiological approach. Nuffield Foundation(URB/36655), United Kingdom, U$2,500.
Schaefer, A. & Mushtaq, F. (2008). “The effect of emotional arousal on memory trace formation: an electrophysiological approach”. Nuffield foundation (URB # 35397), United Kingdom, U$2,500.
Schaefer, A. & Pottage, C. (2007). “Electrophysiological investigations of emotional memories”. Nuffield foundation (URB # 34116), United Kingdom, U$2,500.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK). Funding for a PhD studentship (1+3) 2007-2011 (student: Amy Bland), ~£70,000 (~U$120,000).
National Institute of Health (NIH): Postdoctoral research funding at Yale University and Washington Univ. of St. Louis, 2003-2006.
Schaefer, A. (1998-2002). Effets d'un traitement schématique ou propositionnel de l'information émotionnelle: Une mise à l'épreuve de deux modèles cognitifs des émotions. Doctoral Fellowship, Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) et Fonds Spéciaux de Recherche (FSR), Belgium (~€70,000).
PDF downloads, and some original data can be accessed at Dr Schaefer’s Google Scholar and ResarchGate websites:
List of Full-length, peer-reviewed publications (*Denotes student or postdoc under my supervision):
Goto*, N. & Schaefer, A. (2017, Forthcoming). Emotional Intensity. To appear in the Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer.
Nascimento, J., Buratto, L.G., Schaefer, A. & Stein, L.M (2016). Emotional valence and perceived event frequency affect memory accuracy for a personally relevant life event. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30: 1020-1029.
Schaefer, A.; Buratto, L.G.; Goto, N. & Brotherhood, E.V. (2016). The Feedback-Related Negativity and the P300 brain potential are sensitive to price expectation violations in a virtual shopping task. PLOS One, 11(9): e0163150. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163150
Yick* Y.Y.; Buratto*, L.G. & Schaefer, A. (2016). Variations in prestimulus brain activity predict the emotion-enhanced memory effect. Neuroreport, 27 (11), 864-868.
Mushtaq*, F.; Wilkie, R.M.; Mon-Williams, M.A. & Schaefer, A. (2016). Randomised Prior Feedback Modulates Neural Signals of Outcome Monitoring. Neuroimage, 125, 868-879.
Mushtaq*, F.; Guillen, P.P.; Wilkie, R.M.; Mon-Williams, M.A. & Schaefer, A. (2016). Feedback-related potentials in a gambling task with randomised reward, Data in Brief , 6, 378-385. doi: 10.1016/j.dib.2015.11.060
Yick* Y.Y.; Buratto*, L.G. & Schaefer, A. (2015). The effects of negative emotion on encoding-related neural activity predicting item and source recognition. Neuropsychologia, 73, 48-59.
Watts*, S; Buratto*, L.G.; Brotherhood*, E.V.; Barnacle, G.E. & Schaefer, A. (2014). The neural fate of neutral information in emotion-enhanced memory. Psychophysiology, 51 (7), 673-684.
Buratto*, L.G.; Pottage*, C.L.; Morrison, C.M., Brown, C. & Schaefer, A. (2014). The effects of a distracting N-back task on recognition memory are reduced by negative emotional intensity. PLOS One, 9(10): e110211.
Allen, R.J.; Schaefer, A. & Falcon, T. (2014). Recollecting positive and negative autobiographical memories disrupts working memory. Acta Psychologica. 151, 237-243.
Duffin, E.; Bland, A.R.; Schaefer, A. and De Kamps, M. (2014). Differential effects of reward and punishment in decision making under uncertainty: a computational study. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 8:30.
O’Connor D.B., Walker, S., Talbot, D.; Hendrickx, H. & Schaefer, A. (2013). Stress-related thinking predicts the cortisol awakening response and somatic symptoms in healthy adults. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 38 (3), 438-446.
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 8(6): e66350.
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.
Bland*, A. R. & Schaefer, A. (2012). Different varieties of uncertainty in human decision-making. Frontiers inNeuroscience, 6:85.
Schaefer, A.; Pottage, C.L. & Rickart, A.J., (2011). Electrophysiological correlates of remembering emotional pictures. Neuroimage, 54, 714-724.
King*, R. & Schaefer, A. (2011). The emotional startle effect is disrupted by a concurrent working memory task. Psychophysiology, 48 , 269-276.
Mushtaq*, F.; Bland*, A. R. & Schaefer, A. (2011). Uncertainty and Cognitive Control. Frontiers in Psychology 2:249.
Bland*, A. R. & Schaefer, A. (2011). Electrophysiological correlates of decision making under varying levels of uncertainty. Brain Research, 1417, 55-66.
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, 11, 463-475.
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, 123-127.
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: 1429-1437
Brown, C. & Schaefer, A. (2010). The effects of conformity on recognition judgments for emotional stimuli. Acta Psychologica. 133, 38-44
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
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.
Schaefer, A. (2008). La contribution de la neuroimagerie fonctionnelle a l’étude des émotions humaines. In S. Campanella & E. Streel (Eds.) Psychopathologie et Neurosciences: Questions actuelles de neurosciences cognitives et affectives. Brussels: De Boeck.
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. 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. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, 5(2), 182-190.
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 (Eds.), pp. 67-96 New York: Guilford.
Schaefer, A. & Philippot, P. (2005). Selective effects of emotion on the phenomenal characteristics of autobiographical memories. Memory, 13 (2), 148-160.
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., 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.
Philippot, P. & Schaefer, A. (2001). Emotion and memory. In T.J. Mayne & G.A. Bonanno (Eds.) Emotion: current issues and future directions. (pp. 82-122). NY: Guilford
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.