Dr Alexandre Schaefer

Contact Details

Tel: +603 551 59603
Fax: +603 5514 6323
Office: Room 3-2-04
Email: alexandre.schaefer@monash.edu

Profile Summary

Alexandre Schaefer has been a researcher in psychology and cognitive neuroscience for 20 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 the UK’s research councils (BBSRC and ESRC), the Belgian national fund for scientific research (FNRS), the Nuffield foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Malaysia’s Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) and the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI).

He is currently interested in how poverty affects cognitive and emotional functions, with a particular focus on populations from developing countries. 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 (fMRI and PET), psychophysiological (EEG/ERP) and classical behavioural techniques.

Links to A. Schaefer's publications can be found at Google Scholar and Research Gate.

A. Schaefer has taught both in the Department of Psychology (e.g. PSYC2061 Biological Psychology) and in the MBA programme of the School of Business (MBA 5730 Critical Thinking and Problem-solving).


Bsc and MA in Psychology (Louvain), BA in Philosophy (Louvain), PhD in Psychology (Louvain)

Professional Affiliation

Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy


Links to A. Schaefer's publications can be found at Google Scholar and Research Gate.

These are some of the main research questions that I am currently pursuing, and for which I would be available to supervise PhD and Honours projects.

Understanding the psychological effects of poverty in developing countries

It is well-known that poverty affects the development of cognitive abilities and emotional functions. However, little is known about HOW do economic inequalities affect these psychological processes, and very little research is available from populations in developing countries where these issues are more pressing. I am currently running a series of field studies in different parts of South-East Asia, in which my team is trying to find what mediates the link between poverty and a series of cognitive and emotional functions. In Malaysia, we are testing participants from the SouthEast Asia Community Observatory (SEACO, in collaboration with Daniel Reidpath and Pascale Allotey), and in Indonesia, I am working in Collaboration with Fandy Tjiptono (Monash University, School of Business), and Sony Kusumasondjaja (Universitas Airlangga, in Surabaya, Indonesia).

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. I am using EEG/ERP techniques in order to better understand and predict decision-making in applied contexts, and in particular shopping and financial decision-making environments. In this context, I am leading the development of the “Neurobusiness” behavioural lab, a research facility hosted by Monash university’s school of business in the Malaysia campus. Direct collaborators in this project include Nobuhiko Goto, Motoki Watabe, Shirley Lim, Dexter Shee (Monash University) and Faisal Mushtaq (University of Leeds).


Funding history

Watabe, M.; Singh, I.; Schaefer, A.; Shogo, M.; Chew, YT; Goto, N. (2017-2019). Trust and Cooperation in a Diverse Society. Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education. RM57,200.

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.

Schaefer, A. & Mushtaq, F. (2008). “The effect of emotional arousal on memory trace formation: an electrophysiological approach”. Nuffield foundation (URB # 35397), United Kingdom.

Schaefer, A. & Pottage, C. (2007). “Electrophysiological investigations of emotional memories”. Nuffield foundation (URB # 34116), United Kingdom.

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.


PDF downloads, citation metrics and some original data can be accessed in these websites: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=UUYnx4YAAAAJ&hl=en


List of Full-length, peer-reviewed publications

Peer-reviewed, full-length publications
(*Denotes student or postdoc under my supervision)

Barnacle, G.E.; Tsivilis, D.; Schaefer, A. & Talmi, D. (2017). Local context influences memory for emotional stimuli but not electrophysiological markers of emotion-dependent attention. Psychophysiology.

Goto*, N.; Mushtaq, F.  Shee, D.; & Lim, X.L.; Mortazavi, M.; Watabe, M.; & Schaefer, A. (2017). Neural signals of selective attention are modulated by subjective preferences and buying decisions in a virtual shopping task. Biological Psychology. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.06.004.

Goto*, N. & Schaefer, A. (2017). Emotional Intensity. In Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. V. Zeigler-Hill, T.K. Shackelford (eds.). Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_509-1.

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.

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.

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.

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. DOI: 10.1097/WNR.0000000000000628.

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.