Prof. David Sander


+41 22 379 09 03

General Information


David Sander studied mathematics and psychology at the University René Descartes (Paris, France), and received a PhD in Cognitive Sciences from the University Louis Lumière (Lyon, France).

In 2002, he joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). He is now full professor in this Department where he directs the Laboratory for the study of Emotion Elicitation and Expression (E3Lab:

In 2012, he has been appointed Director of the Centre Interfacultaire en Sciences Affectives, and of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) in Affective Sciences ( He is mainly interested in the mechanisms involved in emotion elicitation, and how these mechanisms modulate attention, memory, and decision-making.

For his research, he was awarded the National Latsis Prize.

Current Research

Research in my Laboratory investigates the cognitive mechanisms involved in the appraisal of relevant stimuli, and how these processes elicit emotions, and modulate attention, memory, and decision-making.

Currently, five major research programs are developed. These research programs aim at empirically investigating:
  • The nature and function of relevance detection in emotion elicitation
  • Appraisal-driven facial expression of emotion
  • Mechanisms underlying emotional attention
  • Mechanisms underlying emotional memory
  • Emotional processing of olfactory stimuli
  • Bidirectional links between emotions and food intake


Selected publications:

  • Brosch, T., Sander, D., Pourtois, G., & Scherer, K. R. (2008). Beyond fear: Rapid spatial orienting towards emotional positive stimuli. Psychological Science, 19(4), 362-370.
  • Coppin, G., Delplanque, S., Cayeux, I., Porcherot, C., and Sander, D. (2010). I’m no longer torn after choice: How explicit choices implicitly shape preferences of odors. Psychological Science, 21, 489-493.
  • Cristinzio, C., N’Diaye, K., Seeck, M, Vuilleumier, P., & Sander, D. (2010). Integration of gaze direction and facial expression in patients with unilateral amygdala damage. Brain, 133, 248-261.
  • Grandjean, D.*, Sander, D., Pourtois, G., Schwartz, S., Seghier, M., Scherer, K. R., & Vuilleumier, P. (2005). The voices of wrath: Brain responses to angry prosody in meaningless speech. Nature Neuroscience, 8(2), 145-146.
  • Montagrin, A., Brosch, T., & Sander, D. (2013). Goal-conduciveness as a key determinant of memory facilitation. Emotion, 13, 622-628.
  • Mumenthaler, C., & Sander, D. (2012). Social Appraisal Influences Recognition of Emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(6), 1118-1135.
  • Mumenthaler, C., & Sander, D. (2015). Automatic integration of social information in emotion recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144, 392–39
  • Pool, E.R., Brosch, T., Delplanque, S., & Sander, D. (2016). Attentional bias for positive emotional stimuli: A meta-analytic investigation. Psychological Bulletin, 142, 79-106.
  • Pool, E. R., Brosch, T., Delplanque, S., & Sander, D. (2015). Stress increases cue-triggered "Wanting" for sweet reward in humans. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 41(2), 128-136.
  • Pool, E. R., Brosch, T., Delplanque, S., & Sander, D. (2014). Where is the chocolate? Rapid spatial orienting toward stimuli associated with primary rewards. Cognition, 130(3), 348-359. 
  • Sander, D. (2013). Models of emotion: the affective neuroscience approach. In J. L. Armony & P. Vuilleumier (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Human Affective Neuroscience (pp. 5-53). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sander, D., Grafman, J., & Zalla, T. (2003). The human amygdala: An evolved system for relevance detection. Reviews in the Neurosciences, 14(4), 303-316.
  • Sander, D., & Scherer, K. R. (Eds.) (2009). The Oxford Companion to emotion and the affective sciences. New York and Oxford : Oxford University Press.


Latest Publications

  • Pool, E.R., Sennwald, V., Delplanque, S., Brosch, T., Sander, D. (2016) Measuring wanting and liking from animals to humans: A systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 63, 124-142.
  • Ferdenzi, C., Delplanque, S., Atanassova, R., Sander, D. (2016) Androstadienone’s influence on the perception of facial and vocal attractiveness is not sex specific. Psychoneuroendocrinology 66, 166-175.
  • Pichon, A.M., Coppin, G., Cayeux, I., Porcherot, C., Sander, D., Delplanque, S. (2015) Sensitivity of physiological emotional measures to odors depends on the product and the pleasantness ranges used. Frontiers in Psychology 6, .
  • Sennwald, V., Pool, E.R., Brosch, T., Delplanque, S., Bianchi-Demicheli, F., Sander, D. (2016) Emotional Attention for Erotic Stimuli: Cognitive and Brain Mechanisms. Journal of Comparative Neurology 524, 1668–1675.
  • Pool, E.R., Brosch, T., Delplanque, S., Sander, D. (2016) Attentional Bias for Positive Emotional Stimuli: A Meta-Analytic Investigation. Psychological Bulletin 142(1), 79-106.