Swann Pichon

Senior Researcher

Directory details

Institution : University of Geneva
Department : FPSE

General Information

I am a young investigator/lecturer funded by the Swiss national science foundation (Ambizione starting grant) at the Department of Psychology at the University of Geneva since October 2013. My team is hosted at the lab of Daphne Bavelier, at the new Campus Biotech in Geneva. An overarching goal of my research is to understand how emotional states and personality respectively contribute to affective functioning, from emotion perception to social behaviour. I also investigate how factors such as anxiety or education (i.e. socio-economical status) influence the way individuals interpret and value information and regulate emotions.

A second major line of my research is concerned with how specific learning environments, such as those provided by video-games, can impact the functioning of the emotional brain and be harnessed to improve specific affective competences. Video-games offer several advantages which make them appealing for designing tools for interventions: they provide constant feedback, they are engaging thereby increasing compliance and motivation to learn, they are affordable and accessible. One of the crucial question that has to be addressed by this research is what makes a learning environment effective in inducing not only learning of a specific function, but transfer of learning from one context (i.e. attention training) to another context that shares similar characteristics (). Such knowledge will be valuable for building virtual environments for education or rehabilitation in clinical contexts. I use several methodological approaches to address these questions (brain imaging techniques, behavior & psychophysics, physiological recordings such as pupil dilation, heart rate or skin conductance).

Besides, I am also the coordinator of the research focus on Emotions, video-games and virtual reality hosted at the Swiss center for affective sciences (Campus Biotech)

More information can be found on my webpage:


Earlier, I worked as a postdoctoral fellow for Patrik Vuilleumier at Geneva medical school from 2009 to 2012 and for David Sander at the Swiss center for affective science from 2012 to 2013. I have previously worked at the cognitive neuroscience lab (E. Koechlin) at ecole normale superieure in Paris, where I obtained my PhD/master in cognitive neurosciences under the auspices of Dr Julie Grèzes (INSERM/ENS) and in collaboration with Pr Beatrice de Gelder (Tilburg University, NL). I received my undergraduate degrees in computer sciences and cognitive sciences from the universities of Edinburgh & ENS.