Social and Affective Neuroscience Team (SAN)

Research center

47 bld de l'Hôpital
75651 Paris
Alexis Brice


Université Pierre et Marie Curie
ED 158
Université Pierre et Marie Curie


UMRS 1127 UMR 7225
Institute for Translational Neuroscience (IHU-A-ICM), Paris

Mots clefs

Affective processes
social processes
Depressive disorders
Self Processing
Emotional Vision
Social contact
Available to host a PhD student


Ulloa JL, Puce A, Hugueville L, George N. Sustained neural activity to gaze and emotion perception in dynamic social scenes. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Mar;9(3):350-7. doi: 10.1093/scan/nss141. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Nejab AB, Fossati, P, Lemogne C (2013). Self-referential processing, rumination and cortical midline structures in major depression. Frontiers Human Neurosciences, 10, 7: 666.

Freton, M., Lemogne, C., Bergouignan, L., Delaveau, P., Lehéricy, S., Fossati, P. (2013) The Eye of the Self: Precuneus Volume and Visual Perspective during Autobiographical Memory. Brain Structure and Function, [Epub ahead of print].

Ulloa, J.L., Puce, A., Hugueville, L., & George, N. (2013). Sustained neural activity to gaze and emotion perception in dynamic social scenes. SCAN, in press. doi: 10.1093/scan/nss141

Dumas, T., Dubal, S., Attal, Y., Morel, S., Chupin, M., Jouvent, R., & George, N. (2013). MEG evidence for early amygdala responses to fearful faces in healthy adults. PloS ONE, 8(9): e74145. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074145.

Chevallier, C., Huguet, P., Happé, F., George, N. & Conty, L. (2013). Salient social cues are prioritized in Autism Spectrum Disorders despite overall decrease in social attention. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43:1642?1651. doi: 10.1007/s10803-012-1710-x

Fields of research

Cognitive neurosciences / neuropsychology /neuroeconomy

Research Theme

The SAN team gathers together three PIs with complementary expertise in affective neuroscience, social neuroscience, and psychiatry. Our project focuses on the functional neuroanatomy of the emotional brain. We study the brain systems of emotion detection, evaluation, and regulation, with an emphasis on how social processes (eg social inclusion) activate and regulate the emotional brain. Dysfunction of the emotional brain is central to many mental disorders and in particular to major depressive disorder (MDD). By focusing on the impact of social processes on the emotional brain, we define new biomarkers for MDD.

Social processes refer to a set of cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in our ability to interact with others and navigate the social world, including processes of face perception, self/other representation, social inclusion, etc. These processes are essential for adaptive behaviour. They are underpinned by brain systems that overlap with the emotional brain, a set of distributed cortical, subcortical, and limbic regions involved in emotional perception and regulation.

Our first objective is to advance knowledge on the reciprocal interaction of the brain systems dedicated to social processes and the emotional brain. We aim at clarifying the role of the visual cortex and of core regions of the emotional brain (amygdala, OFC) in the emotional perception of social and non social stimuli. We study how self-other perception influence the emotional regulation brain system, and the impact of social rejection and inclusion signals on emotional perception and regulation. Moreover, we develop a translational and reverse translational approach by applying our paradigms to healthy subjects and to subjects at risk of (viz. anhedonics) or with actual psychiatric disorders (viz. major depressive disorder, MDD). Dysfunction of the emotional brain is central to the physiopathology of MDD. Another objective is to uncover the role of social processes in the dysfunction of the emotional brain of depressed patients. More specifically, by studying the sensitivity to social signals and self-referential processes we will shed light on the interaction between the salience network and the emotional regulation network of the emotional brain and on their role in MDD.

Our project will contribute to unravel the functional architecture of the emotional brain and the social brain and to provide a brain-based definition of mental disorders. By focusing on the impact of social processes on the emotional brain, we aim at defining new biomarkers of MDD, with increased specificity. In the longer term, this may contribute to personalized medicine in the treatment of depression.

Membres de l'équipe