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Didier Grandjean
Office : 02.167.159 CAMPUS BIOTECH
Phone : +41 22 379 09 14

Institution : University of Geneva
Department : Department of Psychology

General Information

Professor in Neuropsychology of Emotion and Affective Neurosciences at the department of Psychology and the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences. I'm interested in the neuropsychology of emotion and the cortical and subcortical mechanisms involved in vocal and facial emotional expressions and the cognitive processes during the genesis of emotions.
The temporal aspects of appraisal processes of emotion and the underlying brain processes is one of my central research issues. The main goal of my thesis, under the direction of professor Klaus Scherer, was to examine the sequence hypothesis. More specifically, a series of EEG studies adressed the hypothesis of a temporal sequence of the evaluation checks.The processes underlying the perception and evaluation of emotional prosody are a major topic of my research. Different projects are ongoing in collaboration with the University Hospital of Geneva using brain imaging techiques. fMRI and high density surface electroencephalography are used to investigate the psychological processes involved in emotional prosody decoding. Beyond these usual brain imaging techniques, local field potentials (LFPs) analysis from intracranial recordings in humans is used to determine the treatment of information processes in the perception of emotional  auditory stimuli and the relationship between attention and emotion. We are also developping Granger causality models in order to investigate the relationships between brain areas in the context of emotional perception. Music and emotion is also an important topic of research: we are conducting a series of experiments in the framework of the Social Interaction and Entrainment using Music PeRformance Experimentation european project (SIEMPRE).


Current Research

Domains of interest:

  • Emotional prosody decoding processes
  • Appraisal processes in emotion
  • Neuronal synchronizations
  • Music and emotion
  • Subcortical and cortical processes in emotion
  • Emotion and Olfaction

Emotional prosody and music

I am particularly interested in the cerebral mechanisms of the cognitive processes of emotional prosody at conscious and unconscious levels. The particular processes involved in semantic prosody compared to emotional prosody are addressed using fMRI and dense electroencephalography methods as well as intracranial recordings. 

Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Lucas, N., Scherer, K. R., Vuilleumier, P. (2008). Effects of emotional prosody on auditory extinction for voices in patients with spatial neglect. Neuropsychologia, 46(2), 487-496.

Grandjean, D., Bänziger, T., Scherer, K. R. (2006). Intonation as an interface between language and affect. Progress in Brain Research, 156, 235–268.

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.

Aue, T., Cuny, C., Sander, D. & Grandjean, D. (2011). Peripheral responses to attended and unattended angry prosody: A dichotic listening paradigm. Psychophysiology, 48(3), 385-392. 

Bach, D., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Herdener, M., Strik, W.K., Seifritz, E. (2008). The effect of appraisal level on processing of emotional prosody in meaningless speech. NeuroImage, 42(2), 919-927.

Bach, D. R., Buxtorf, K., Grandjean, D., &  Strik, W.K. (2009). The influence of emotion clarity on affective prosody identification in paranoid schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine, 39(6), 927-938.

Bach, D.R., Herdener, M., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Seifritz, E., & Strik, W.K. (2009). Altered lateralisation of emotional prosody processing in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 110(1-3), 180-187.

Baenziger, T., Grandjean, D., & Scherer, K.R. (2009). Emotion recognition from expressions in face, voice, and body: The Multimodal Emotion Recognition Test (MERT). Emotion, 9(5), 691-704.

Brosch, T., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Scherer, K. R. (2008). Behold the voice of wrath: Cross-modal modulation of visual attention by anger prosody. Cognition, 106, 1497–1503.

Brosch, T., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Scherer, K. R. (2009). Cross-modal emotional attention: Emotional voices modulates early stages of visual procesing. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 21(9), 1670-1679.

Lejeune, F., Péron, J., Grandjean, D., Drapier, S., Haegelen, C., Garin, E., Millet, B., & Vérin, M. (2010). Subthalamic stimulationaffects limbic and associative circuits a PET study. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, 37(8), 1512-1520.

Péron, J., El Tamer, S., Grandjean, D., Travers, D., Drapier, D., Vérin, M. & Millet, B. (in press).  Major Depressive Disorder Skews the Recognition of Emotional Prosody. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry. 

Péron, J., Grandjean, D., Le Jeune, F., Sauleau, P., Haegelen, C., Drapier, D., Rouaud, T., Drapier, S., and Vérin, M. (2010). Recognition of Emotional Prosody is Disrupted After Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease. Neuropsychologia, 48(4), 1053-1062.

Sander, D., Grandjean, D., Pourtois, G., Schwartz, S., Seghier, M., Scherer, K. R., Vuilleumier, P. (2005). Emotion and Attention Interactions in Social Cognition: Brain Regions Involved in Processing Anger Prosody. NeuroImage, 28(4), 848–858.

Vandewalle, G., Schwartz, S., Grandjean, D., Wuillaume,C., Balteau, E., Linkowski, P., Degueldre, C., Schabus, M., Phillips, C., Luxen, A., Dijk, D.J., & Maquet, P. (2010). The spectral quality of light modulates emotional brain responses in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United State of America, 107(45), 19549-54. 

Wildgruber, D., Ethofer, T., Grandjean, D., and Kreiflets, B. (2009). A cerebral network model of speech prosody comprehension. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11(4), 277-281.

Zentner, M., Grandjean, D., Scherer, K.R. (2008). Emotions Evoked by the Sound of Music: Differentiation, Classification, and Measurement. Emotion, 8(4), 494-521.

Appraisal processes in emotion and facial emotional expression and recognition

My main research topic concerns appraisal processes in the genesis of emotion, in particular the question of the microgenetic sequence of the different processes and how they occur at different level of brain processing. The unfolding of temporal processes of the appraisals is one of my interests. I studied the sub-processes of novelty, relevance, intrinsic pleasantness and goal conduciveness/obstructiveness using behavioral and electroencephalographic measures. The spectral decomposition of EEG signals by wavelet analysis and topographical analysis are the core of the methods used in order to better understanding cognitive processes in the genesis of emotion.

Grandjean, D., Scherer, K. R. (2008). Unpacking the cognitive architecture of emotion processes. Emotion, 8(3), 341-351.

Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Scherer, K. R. (2008). Conscious emotional experience emerges as a function of multilevel, appraisal-driven response synchronization. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 484-495.

Grandjean, D., Rendu, A.-C., MacNamee, T., K. R. Scherer (2008). The wrath of the gods: Appraising the meaning of disaster. Social Science Information, 47, 187-204.

Jarlier, S., Grandjean, D., Delplanque, S., N'Diaye, K., Cayeux, I., Velazco, M.-I., Sander, D., Vuilleumier, P., & Scherer, K. (2011). Automatic Thermal Analysis of Facial Expressions. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, 2(1), 1-8.

Roesch, E.B, Tamarit, L., Reveret, L., Grandjean, D., Sander D., & Scherer K.R. (2011). FACSGen: A tool to synthesize realistic, static and dynamic emotional facial expressions based on facial action units. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 35(1), 1-16. 

Korb, S., Grandjean, D., & Scherer, K.R. (2010). Timing and voluntary suppression of facial mimicry to smiling faces in a Go/NoGo task - an EMG study. Biological Psychology, 85(2), 347-349.

Korb, S., Grandjean, D., Scherer, K. (2008). Motor Commands of Facial Expressions: the Bereitschaftspotential of Posed Smiles. Brain Topography, 20(4), 232-238.

Scherer, K. R., Grandjean, D. (2008). Inferences from facial expressions of emotion have many facets. Cognition and Emotion, 22, 789-801.

Vritcka, P., Anderson, F., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., & Vuilleumier, P. (2008). Individual attachment style modulates human amygdala and striatum activation during social appraisal. PLoS ONE, 3(8), e2868.

Delplanque, S., N'diaye, K., Scherer, K. R., & Grandjean, D. (2007). Spatial frequencies or emotional effects? A systematic measure of spatial frequencies for IAPS pictures by a discrete wavelet analysis. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 165, 144-50.

Sander, D., Grandjean, D., Scherer, K. R. (2005). A systems approach to appraisal mechanisms in emotion. Neural Networks, 18, 317–352.

Pourtois, G., Dan, E., Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Vuilleumier, P. (2005). Enhanced extrastriate visual response to band-pass spatial frequency filtered fearful faces: time course and topographic evoked. Human Brain Mapping, 26, 65–79.

Pourtois, G., Sander, D., Andres, M., Grandjean, D., Reveret, L., Olivier, E., Vuilleumier, P. (2004). Dissociable roles of the human somatosensory and superior temporal cortices for processing social face signals. European Journal of Neuroscience, 20, 3507–3515.

Neuronal synchronizations

The connectivity of different brain regions can be investigated using measures of neuronal synchronization computed from local field potentials (LFPs) recorded directly in human brain examined for clinical purposes. A better knowledge of the dynamics of the relationships between close and distant neuronal populations subserving a given cognitive process is a crucial challenge to be able to understand how representations are built up at different levels of processing. Phase coupling between two or more neuronal populations is computed in order to characterize the dynamics of the functional connectivity. Currently, I am investigating the relationships between orbitofrontal regions and subcortical nuclei and other cortical regions in emotional prosody decoding.

Grandjean, D., Sander, D., Scherer, K. R. (2008). Conscious emotional experience emerges as a function of multilevel, appraisal-driven response synchronization. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(2), 484-495.

Emotion and Olfaction

The privileged relationships between olfactory modality and emotional processes have been described long time ago. We are investigating the elicitation of emotions and the efferent effects of emotional proesses related to olfaction using EEG, peripheral measures, and subjective feelings.  

Ferdenzi C., Schirmer, A., Roberts, C., Delplanque, S., Porcherot-Lassallette, C., Cayeux, I., Velazco, M.-I., Sander, D., Scherer,  K., & Grandjean, D. (in press). Affective dimensions of odor perception: A comparison between Swiss, British, and Singaporean populations. Emotion.

Chrea, C., Grandjean, D., Delplanque, S., Cayeux, I., Le Calvé, B., Aymard. L., Velazco, M.I., Sander, D., & Scherer, K.R. (2009). Mapping the Semantic Space for the Subjective Experience of Emotional Responses to Odors. Chemical Senses, 34(1), 49-62.

Delplanque, S. Grandjean, D., Chrea, C., Coppin, G., Aymard, L., Cayeux, I., Margot, C., Velazco, M.I., Sander, D., and Scherer, K.R. (2009). Sequential Unfolding of Novelty and Pleasantness Appraisals of Odors: Evidence From Facial Electromyography and Autonomic Reactions. Emotion, 9(3), 316-328. 

Delplanque, S., Grandjean, D., Chrea, C., Aymard, L., Cayeux, I., Le Calvé, B., Velazco, M.I., Scherer, K.R., & Sander, D. (2008). Emotional processing of odors: evidence for a nonlinear relation between pleasantness and familiarity evaluations. Chemical Senses, 33, 469-79.

Selected Publications

  • Gentsch, K., Grandjean, D., Scherer K.R. (2015) Temporal dynamics and potential neural sources of goal conduciveness, control, and power appraisal. Biological Psychology 112, .
  • Gentsch, K., Grandjean, D., Scherer K. R. (2015) Appraisals Generate Specific Configurations of Facial Muscle Movements in a Gambling Task: Evidence for the Component Process Model of Emotion. Plos ONE , .
  • Pannese, A., Grandjean, D., Frühholz, S. (2015) Subcortical processing in auditory communication. Hearing Research , .
  • Korb, S., Frühholz, S., Grandjean, D. (2015) Reappraising the voices of wrath. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience , .
  • Klaas, H., Frühholz, S., Grandjean, D. (2015) Aggressive vocal expressions – an investigation of their underlying neural network. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience , .