Dr Alexandre Schaefer

Associate Professor

Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Email: alexandre.schaefer@monash.edu
Tel: +603 5515 9603
Office: Room 3-2-04

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0864-9384

Profile Summary

Dr. Alexandre Schaefer is currently an associate professor of psychology at Monash University (Malaysia Campus) since 2013, and he previously worked for the universities of Durham and Leeds (UK), Yale University, Washington University, and the University of Louvain (Belgium). So far, his research has been funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), UK’s research councils (BBSRC and ESRC), the Belgian national fund for scientific research (FNRS), the Nuffield foundation, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Malaysian ministry of education.

For more than 20 years, he has worked in the field of human emotions and their relationships with cognitive processes. The promise of this field of research is to contribute towards a better understanding of mental health disorders linked to a dysfunction of emotions (e.g. depression and anxiety disorders).  In recent years, He has also developed a research programme exploring how socioeconomic factors affect mental health, decision-making and cognitive function, with a particular focus on populations from developing countries.

Dr Schaefer has taught both in the Department of Psychology (e.g. PSY2061 Biological Psychology) and in the MBA programme of the School of Business (MBA 5730 Critical Thinking and Problem-solving). He also provides consultancy services to external partners in the field of psychological assessment.

Academic Qualifications

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

Professional Affiliation

Registered Psychologist (Belgium)

Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy

Research / Education Interests

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).


Yong, M.H.; Lawrie, L.; Schaefer, A.; Phillips, L.H. (2021). The Effects of adult ageing and culture on theory of mind. Journal of Gerontology: Series B. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbab093

Pavlov, Y. G.; Adamian, N., Appelhoff, S., Arvaneh, M., Benwell, C., Ph.D., Beste, C., …, Schaefer, A.; ….; Mushtaq, F. (2021). #EEGManyLabs: Investigating the Replicability of Influential EEG Experiments. Cortex. DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2021.03.013

Perera, HW; Khairuddin, R.; Salehuddin, K. & Schaefer, A. (2021). The relationship between socioeconomic status and scalp event-related potentials: A systematic review. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 15:601489.DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.601489

Phillips, L.H.; Lawrie, L.; Tan, CY.; Schaefer, A. &Yong, M.H. (2021). The effects of adult ageing and culture on the tower of London task. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.631458

Yong, MH; Lim, XL & Schaefer, A. (2020). How do Asians perceive Caucasian eyes? Electrophysiological correlates of perceiving racial differences from the eyes region of the face. Neuroscience Letters, 720, 134759. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2020.134759

Wolkow, A.P.; Rajaratnam,  S.M.W.; Wilkinson, V., Shee, D.; Baker, A.; Lillington, T.; Roest, P.; Chew, C.; Tucker, A.; Haque, S.; Schaefer, A. & Howard, M. (2020).The impact of heart rate-based drowsiness monitoring on adverse driving events in heavy vehicle drivers under naturalistic conditions. Sleep Health, 6(3):366-373. DOI: 10.1016/j.sleh.2020.03.005

Balkhoyor, Mushtaq, Craddock, Mon-Williams, Schaefer et al., (2020). Frontal theta brain activity varies as a function of surgical experience and task error. BMJ: Surgery, Interventions, & Health Technologies, 2: e000040. DOI:10.1136/bmjsit-2020-000040.

Goto, N. & Schaefer, A. (2020). Emotional Intensity. In Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. In Zeigler-Hill, V. & Shackelford, T.K. (eds.). Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_509.

Vermeulen, N., Pleyers, G.; Mermillod, M.; Corneille, O.; Schaefer, A. (2019). Desperately Seeking Friends:  How Expectation of Punishment Modulates Attention to Angry and Happy Faces. Visual Cognition. DOI: 10.1080/13506285.2019.1676351

Goto, N.; Lim, X.L.; Shee, D.; Khong KW; Hatano, A.; Buratto, L.G.;  Watabe, M.; & Schaefer, A. (2019). Can brain waves really tell if a product will be purchased? Inferring consumer preferences from single-item brain potentials. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. 13:19. DOI: 10.3389/fnint.2019.00019

Mushtaq,F., McDougle, S.D., Craddock, M. P.; Parvin, D.E.; Brookes, J., Schaefer, A.; Mon-Williams, M.; Taylor, J.A.; & Ivry, R.B. (2019).Distinct processing of selection and execution errors in neural signatures of outcome monitoring. bioRχiv, DOI: 10.1101/853317

Barnacle, G.E.; Tsivilis, D.; Schaefer, A. & Talmi, D. (2018). Local context influences memory for emotional stimuli but not electrophysiological markers of emotion-dependent attention. Psychophysiology, e13014. DOI: 10.1111/psyp.13014.

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, 128, 11-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2017.06.004.

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. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3294

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. DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4043.2004.

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. DOI:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.07.004

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 in Neuroscience, 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.

Research Grants

Su TT; Schaefer A.; Sharuna EV ; Yeoh SG; Tan MM; (2019-2020). Designing a culturally sensitive relational community engagement (RCE) model for low and middle countries . World Health Organization (WHO). USD 90,000 (MYR 373,000).

Su TT; Thurairajasingam, V.; Schaefer A.; Tan, MM; Chan, AW; Ki, SL (2021-2023). Delivering a self-help digital mental health intervention to nurses with symptoms of work-related stress and burn out by using a fully automated conversational agent. Monash Malaysia NEED grant Scheme. MYR 300,000

Schaefer, A.; Yong, MH.; Phillips, L.; Van Reekum, C., Jentzsch, I. et al (2020-2024). Modulating neural markers of age-related decline in cognitive function: A longitudinal approach. Awarded amount: MYR 1,200,000. This project is part of a larger multi-site programme: Yong, M.H., Schaefer, A.; Khairudin, R.; Zarei, A.; Ling, LW. (2020-2024). Successful ageing: Evidence-based interventions to delay ageing-related decline. Long-Term Research Grant (LRGS), Malaysian Ministry of Education.  MYR 2,400,000, LRGS/1/2019/SYUC//1.

Yong, M.H.; Schaefer, A.; Aguilera, J.C.K., Khairudin, R. et al. (2019-2021). The adult neuroplasticity model: Age-related decline in executive function. Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS), Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education. RM 100,200.

Phillips, L.; Min, Y.M. ; Schaefer, A. (2018-2020). Social cognition and executive function among older adults in the UK and Malaysia: links to socio-economic factors. Research Councils UK (RCUK), Newton Fund. £128,461 (~175,000 USD, ~700,000 MYR). Grant ID: 331745333 .

Ayub, Q.; Pei Lee, T.; Schaefer, A. et al. Aging and Urban Mobility in Bandar Sunway: A holistic approach. Monash University Malaysia Sustainable Community Grant Scheme. 250,000 MYR.

Kallavally, V.; Tan, CP; Haque, S.; Schaefer, A. (2018-2020). Context-aware human-centric smart lighting system. Industry grant, Itramas Corporation Sdn. Bhd. 256,533 MYR.

Rajaratnam, SW; Haque, S.; Schaefer, A.; Wolkow, A.P. et al. (2016-2018). Industry grant, Shell Research, AUD 40,000.

Tan, C.P., Kalavally, V.; Parkkinen, J. ; Haque, S. ; Schaefer, A; Anura Siri, D.; Lacey, D. & Kok Eng, N. (2015-2018). “Quality of Light - Impact of Visual and Non-Visual Effects” CREST R&D grant, Joint grant from the Malaysian Ministry of Science and Technology and OSRAM (Germany), REF: P20C1-15. RM442,000; USD 112,000 .

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.

Khairudin, R.; Perera, H.; Salehuddin, K. & Schaefer, A. (2018-2020). Brain and Poverty: Identifying The Neural Activity Of Decision-Making in low-income individuals. Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, "Cabaran Perdana" fund. MYR 71,400.

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 Education, RM61,000.

Haque, S., Schaefer, A., Shimul, A.M. & Conway, M.A. (2016-2018). Generational identity and autobiographical narratives of Bangladesh independence war veterans. Monash University GA 21 platform, RM20,000.

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 Education, RM82,000.

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).

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK).Funding for a PhD studentship (1+3) 2006-2010 (student: Rosemary King), ~£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 (€70,000).

Research Supervision

Faisal Mushtaq (Leeds University)
Successful completion in 2012

Claire Pottage (Leeds University)
Successful completion in 2012

Amy Bland (Leeds University)
Successful completion in 2012 (ESRC)

Rosemary King (Leeds University)
Successful completion in 2009. (ESRC)

Sarah Walker (Leeds University)
Successful completion in 2010

Sarah Watts (Durham University)
Successful completion in 2015.

Nazool Tabassum (Durham University)
Successful completion in 2016.

Adam Rickart
(Durham University)

Eugene Wei Lim-Hsiung  (Monash University, FRGS)
Co-supervision with Prof. Poon Wai Ching

Khadeeja Munawar (Monash University)
Co-supervision with Prof. S. Haque

Joo Pin Loh (Monash University)
Co-supervision with Prof. Watabe

Hiran Perera (Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia)
Co-supervision with Prof. Khairudin

Sumit Surendran Pillai (Monash University)
Co-supervision with Fandy Tjiptono

Chan Jee Kei (Monash University)
Co-supervision with Shamsul Haque)

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