Prof. David Sander, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
University of Geneva
Office 5135
Boulevard du Pont d’Arve 40
1205 Geneva

Swiss Center for Affective Sciences
Campus Biotech
Chemin des Mines 9
1202 Geneva


Prof. David Sander mainly investigates the brain and cognitive mechanisms involved in emotion. He 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. 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, which is located at the Campus Biotech.
He is mainly interested in the brain and cognitive mechanisms involved in emotion elicitation, and how these mechanisms modulate attention, memory, and decision-making. He has published more than 100 articles and edited 6 books on these topics. For his work, he was awarded the 2013 National Latsis Prize.



David Sander est professeur de psychologie et directeur du Centre interfacultaire en sciences affectives (CISA) de l’Université de Genève. Après des études de mathématiques, de psychologie et de sciences cognitives à Paris et à Lyon, il a rejoint en 2002 la Section de psychologie de l’Université de Genève au sein de la Faculté de psychologie et des sciences de l’éducation. Il y est maintenant professeur ordinaire où il y dirige le Laboratory for the study of Emotion Elicitation and Expression (E3 Lab). En 2012, il est devenu directeur du Centre interfacultaire en sciences affectives (CISA), situé dans le Campus Biotech, à Genève. Ses recherches portent sur les mécanismes impliqués dans le déclenchement de l’émotion et sur la manière dont ces mécanismes modulent la réponse émotionnelle ainsi que l’attention, la mémoire et la prise de décision. Pour ses recherches, il a été le lauréat du Prix Latsis National 2013.



Scientific Articles

Peer-reviewed articles

2023, in press, and preprints
  • Nicolet-dit-Félix, M.*, Gillioz, C.*, Mortillaro, M., Sander, D., & Fiori, M. (2023). Emotional intelligence and attentional bias to emotional faces: Evidence of hypersensitivity to emotion information. Personality and Individual Differences, 201, Article 111917. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2022.111917
  • Parma, J. O., Bacelar, M. F. B., Cabral, D. A. R., Recker, R. S., Orsholits, D., Renaud, O., Sander, D., Krigolson, O. E., Miller, M. W., Cheval, B., & Boisgontier, M. P. (2023). Relationship between reward-related brain activity and opportunities to sit. Cortex, 167, 197-217. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2023.06.011
  • Vollberg, M. C., O'Connor, B. B., Vuilleumier, P., Sander, D., & Cikara, M. (2023). Place-related neural activity sets the stage for empathy [Preprint]. PsyArxiv. 10.31234/osf.io/9cqdm
  • Vollberg, M. C., & Sander, D. (2023). Hidden reward: Affect and its prediction errors as windows into subjective value [Preprint]. PsyArxiv. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/cr2nd
  • Wuensch, L., Stussi, Y., Murray, R., Denis-Bonnin, M., Corino, T., Sander, D., Péron, J., & Pool, E. R. (2022). Differential influence of habitual behavior components on compulsive and problematic reward-seeking behavior [Preprint]. PsyArXiv. doi: 10.31234/osf.io/jr6m4

  • Cheval, B., Maltagliati, S., Sieber, S., Cullati, S., Zou, L., Ihle, A., Kramer, A. F., Yu, Q., Sander, D., & Boisgontier, M. P. (2022). Better subjective sleep quality partly explains the association between self-reported physical activity and better cognitive function. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 87(2), 919-931. doi: 10.3233/JAD-215484
  • Palama, A., Malsert, J., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., & Gentaz, E. (2022). The cross-modal transfer of emotional information from voices to faces in 5-, 8- and 10-year-old children and adults: An eye-tracking study. Emotion, 22(4), 725-739. doi: 10.1037/emo0000758

  • Cheval, B., Cabral, D. A. R., Daou, M., Bacelar, M. F. B., Parma, J. O., Forestier, C., Orsholits, D., Maltagliati, S., Sander, D., Boisgontier, M. P., & Miller, M. W. (2021). Inhibitory control elicited by physical activity and inactivity stimuli: an EEG study. Motivation Science, 7(4), 386-399. doi: 10.1037/mot0000236
  • Denervaud, S., Hess, A., Sander, D., & Pourtois, G. (2021). Children’s automatic evaluation of self-generated actions is different from adults. Developmental Science, 24(3), Article e13045. doi: 10.1111/desc.13045
  • Dukes, D., Abrams, K., Adolphs, R., Ahmed, M. E., Beatty, A., Berridge, K. C., Broomhall, S., Brosch, T., Campos, J. J., Clay, Z., Clément, F., Cunningham, W., Damasio, A., Damasio, H., D'Arms, J., Davidson, J., de Gelder, B., Deonna, J., de Sousa, R., Ekman, P., Ellsworth, P., Fehr, E., Fischer, A., Foolen, A., Frevert, U., Grandjean, D., Gratch, J., Greenberg, L., Greenspan, P., Gross, J., Halperin, E., Kappas, A., Keltner, D., Knutson, B., Konstan, D., Kret, M., LeDoux, J., Lerner, J., Levenson, R. W., Loewenstein, G., Manstead, A., Maroney, T., Moors, A., Niedenthal, P., Parkinson, B., Pavlidis, I., Pelachaud, C., Pollak, S., Pourtois, G., Röttger-Rössler, B., Russell, J. A., Sauter, D., Scarantino, A., Scherer, K., Stearns, P., Stets, J., Tappolet, C., Teroni, F., Tsai, J., Turner, J., Van Reekum, C., Vuilleumier, P., Wharton, T., & Sander, D. (2021). The rise of affectivism. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 816-820. doi: 10.1038/S41562-021-01130-8


  • Cheval, B., Miller, M. W., Orsholits, D., Berry, T., Sander, D., & Boisgontier, M. P. (2020). Physically active individuals look for more: An eye‐tracking study of attentional bias. Psychophysiology, 57(6), Article e13582. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13582
  • Denervaud, S., Mumenthaler, C., Gentaz, E., & Sander, D. (2020). Emotion recognition development: Preliminary evidence for an effect of school pedagogical practices. Learning and Instruction69, Article 101353. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2020.101353
  • Humbert-Droz, S., Garcia, A., Sennwald, V., Teroni, F., Deonna, J., Sander, D., & Cova, F. (2020). Lost in intensity: Is there an empirical solution to the quasi-emotions debate? Aesthetic Investigations, 4(1), 54-76. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.4415555
  • Rafi, H., Bogacz, F., Sander, D., & Klimecki, O. (2020). Impact of couple conflict and mediation on how romantic partners are seen: A fMRI study. Cortex, 130, 302-317. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2020.04.036


  • Cheval, B., Rebar, A. L., Miller, M. W., Sieber, S., Orsholits, D., Baranyi, G., Courvoisier, D., Cullati, S., Sander, D., Chalabaev, A., & Boisgontier, M. P. (2019). Cognitive resources moderate the adverse impact of poor perceived neighborhood conditions on self-reported physical activity of older adults. Preventive Medicine, 126, Article 105741. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.05.029
  • Chillà, C., Cereghetti, D., Cayeux, I., Porcherot, C., Delplanque, S., & Sander, D. (2019). Measuring wanting without asking: The Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer paradigm under test. Food Quality and Preference, 78, Article 103720. doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2019.103720
  • Denervaud, S., Franchini, M., Gentaz, E., & Sander, D. (2017). Les émotions au cœur des processus d’apprentissage. Revue suisse de pédagogie spécialisée, 4, 20-25.
  • Kalisch, R., Baker, D. G., Basten, U., Boks, M. P., Bonanno, G. A., Brummelman, B., Chmitorz, A., Fernàndez, G., Fiebach, C. J., Galatzer-Levy, I., Geuze, E., Groppa, S., Helmreich, I., Hendler, T., Hermans, E. J., Jovanovic, T., Kubiak, T., Lieb, K., Lutz, B., Müller, M. B., Murray, R. J., Nievergelt, C. M., Reif, A., Roelofs, K., Rutten B. P. F., Sander, D., Schick, A., Tüscher, O., Van Diest, I., van Harmelen, A.-L., Veer, I. M., Vermetten, E., Vinkers, C. H., Wager, T. D., Walter, H., Wessa, M., Wibral, M., & Kleim, B. (2017). The resilience framework as a strategy to combat stress-related disorders: Current challenges and future perspectives. Nature Human Behaviour, 1, 784–790. doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0200-8


Edited Books

  • Sander, D., & Herschdorfer, N. (Eds.). (2017). Emotions. Salenstein, Switzerland: Benteli.
  • Brosch, T., & Sander, D. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of Value: Perspectives from economics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Sander, D. (Ed.) (2015). Le monde des émotions. Belin.
  • Sander, D., & Scherer, K. R. (Eds.). (2009/2014). The Oxford companion to emotion and the affective sciences. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Sander, D., & Scherer, K. R. (Eds.). (2009/2014/2019). Traité de psychologie des émotions. Paris, France : Dunod.
  • Sander, D., & Schwartz, S. (2010). Au coeur des émotions. Paris, France : Le pommier.


Book Chapters

2023 & In press

  • Kragel, P. A., Sander, D., & LaBar, K. S. (in press). How can brain data be used to arbitrate among emotion theories? In A. Scarantino (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of emotion theory. Routledge University Press.


  • Zaharia, A., Dell’Angela, L., Sander, D., & Samson, A. C. (2022). Play and games: means to support emotional development. In D. Dukes, A. C. Samson, and E. A. Walle (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of emotional development (pp. 354-369). Oxford University Press.


  • Coppin, G., & Sander, D. (2021). Theoretical approaches to emotion and its measurement. In H. Meiselman (Ed.), Emotion measurement (2nd ed., pp. 3-37). Woodhead Publishing.
  • Pool, E. R., & Sander, D. (2021). Emotional learning: Measuring how affective values are acquired and updated. In H. L. Meiselman (Ed.), Emotion measurement (2nd ed., pp. 133-165). Woodhead Publishing.


  • Mumenthaler, C., & Sander, D. (2019). Socio-affective inferential mechanisms involved in emotion recognition. In D. Dukes & F. Clément (Eds.), Foundations of affective social learning: Conceptualizing the social transmission of value (pp. 142-164). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


  • Pichon, A., & Sander, D. (2018). Ingrédients, odeurs et émotions. In M. Grisel & G. Savary (Eds), Matières premières cosmétiques. Paris, France : Lavoisier.


  • Cova, F., Deonna, J., & Sander, D. (2017). “That’s deep!”: The role of being moved and feelings of profundity in the appreciation of serious narratives. In Donald R. Wehrs & Thomas Blake (Eds.) The Palgrave handbook of affect studies and textual criticism (pp. 347-369). Springer.
  • Delplanque, S., Coppin, G., & Sander, D. (2017). Emotion and odors: beyond valence. In A. Buettner (Ed.), Springer handbook of odor (pp. 787-797).


  • Coppin, G., & Sander, D. (2016). Theoretical approaches to emotion and its measurement. In H. Meiselman (Ed.), Emotion measurement (pp 3-30). Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing.


  • Coppin, G., & Sander, D. (2013). Neuropsychologie affective et Olfaction : Etudier la sensibilité de l’amygdale aux odeurs pour tester les théories de l’émotion [Affective neuropsychology and olfaction: Investigate amygdala sensitivity to smells to test theories of emotion]. Dans B. Schaal, C. Ferdenzi & O. Wathelet (Eds.), Odeurs et emotions. Le nez a ses raisons… [Odors and emotions. The nose has its reasons…](pp. 383-398). Université de Bourgogne : Editions Universitaires de Dijon, France.
  • 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, UK: Cambridge University Press.


  • Bediou, B., Sander, D., & Scherer. K. (2012). Régulation des émotions et processus d'évaluation. In M. Desseilles & M. Mikolajczak (Eds), Traité de la régulation émotionnelle (pp. 117-132). Belgique : Deboeck.
  • Brosch, T., & Sander, D. (2012). Le rôle de l’amygdale dans l’émotion et la cognition sociale [The role of the amygdala in emotion and social cognition]. Dans P. Allain, G. Aubin, & D. Le Gall (Eds.), Cognition sociale et neuropsychologie (pp. 129-144). Marseille, France : Solal.


  • Korsten, N., Roesch, E. B., Fragopanagos, N., Taylor, J. G., Grandjean, D., & Sander, D. (2011). Biological and computational constraints to psychological modelling of emotion. In Petta et al. (Eds.), Handbook for research on emotions and human-machine interactions. Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag.



  • Delplanque, S., & Sander, D. (2009). Odour and emotion. In D. Sander & K. R. Scherer (Eds.), The Oxford companion to emotion and the affective sciences (pp. 288-289). New York, NY and Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Korb, S., & Sander, D. (2009). Facial expression of emotion (Neural architecture of). In D. Sander & K. R. Scherer (Eds.), The Oxford companion to emotion and the affective sciences (pp. 173-175). New York, NY and Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Sander, D. (2009). The amygdala. In D. Sander & K. R. Scherer (Eds.), The Oxford companion to emotion and the affective sciences (pp. 28–32). New York, NY and Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

  • Sander, D., & Scherer, K. R. (2009). Psychologie des émotions : Survol des théories et débats. Dans D. Sander & K. R. Scherer (Eds.), Traité de Psychologie des émotions (pp. 3–39). Paris, France : Dunod.


  • Scherer, K. R., Sangsue, J., & Sander, D. (2008). De la psychologie à la psychopathologie des émotions. In M. Van der Linden & G. Ceschi (Eds.), Traité de psychopathologie cognitive (pp. 23-55). Marseille, France : Solal Editeur.


  • Pourtois, G., Sander, D., & Vuilleumier, P. (2007). Dynamique temporelle de l’attention émotionnelle : apports de l’imagerie cérébrale fonctionnelle. Dans G. Michael (Ed.), Neuroscience cognitive de l’attention visuelle (pp. 265-298). Marseille, France : Solal Editeur.


  • Scherer, K. R., & Sander, D. (2005). The musical tuning of the brain. [Review of the book Tone of voice and mind]. Music Perception, 23(1), 87-90.


  • Sander, D., & Koenig, O. (2001). Vers un modèle computationnel des mécanismes émotionnels. Dans J. Caron-Pargue, V. Nyckees, & H. Paugam-Moisy (Eds.), La cognition entre individu et société : des modèles et des méthodes. Paris, France : Hermès.