Plasticity and SubjectivitY "PSY"


The aim of our research is to determine the impaired mechanisms involved in subjective and intersubjective experiences as those observed in psychiatric conditions addictions, and more generally along a continuum ranging from normal to pathology. More specifically, we are interested in the pathophysiology of hallucinations, familiarity disorders, post-traumatic flashbacks, affective and cognitive biases, craving, suicidal ideas or body-schema illusions. This goal is notably achieved through the development of diagnosis tools that may help medical decision  (e.g. for first-episode psychosis or after a suicide attempt), and the validation of non-pharmacological therapies for drug-resistant symptoms (e.g. neuroguided rTMS or fMRI-based neurofeedback for hallucinations, trauma-focused therapy). Finally, we are interested in how these subjective experiences can be affected by a stressful or protective environment, a dedicated treatment, etc. Such adaptations refer to what we call plasticity. To answer these different questions, we refer to experimental methods coming from the cognitive sciences, combined with advanced analyses of EEG/MRI signals and computational modeling. Our scientific projects are divided in four axes.


Principal Investigators

Pr. Renaud Jardri
Full Professor (Child & Adolescent Psychiatry),
Dr. Delphine Pins
CNRS researcher (Neuroscience), co-director of the team
Pr. Pierre thomas
Full Professor (Psychiatry)
Pr. Guillaume Vaiva
Full Professor (Psychiatry)
Pr. Olivier Cottencin
Full Professor (Addiction Medicine)
Dr. Ali Amad
Associate Professor (Psychiatry)

Dr. Fabien D’Hondt
Associate Professor (Neuroscience)

Associated scientists

Dr. Thomas Fovet, MD, PhD
Dr. Pierre Grandgenèvre, MD, PhD
 Dr. Dewi Guardia , MD, PhD
 Dr. Mathilde Horn, MD, PhD
Dr. Dominique Servant, MD, PhD

Research support staff

Charlotte Caillot
Project manager (PREDIPSY)
 David Roman
Research assistant
 Sébastien Szaffarczyk

PhD students

  • Victoire Benard
  • Vincent Bouttier
  • Coralie Creupelandt
  • Alice Demesmaeker
  • Candela Donantueno
  • Nadia Guerouaou
  • Salomé Leclercq
  • Anne-Claire Leterme
  • Arnaud Leroy
  • Louise Loisel-Fleuriot
  • Charles-Edouard Notredame
  • Emilie Veerapa


  • Aurély Ameller : MD, PhD
  • Morgane Demeulemeester : PhD

Axe 1. Hallucinations & Illusions :

This research axis relies on the development of detection tools able to catch online per-hallucinatory fMRI activity (symptom-capture studies). These methods allow to explore the functional dynamics of hallucinations from ignition to extinction, but also have clinical implications such as for new brain-guided therapies of drug-resistant hallucinations (e.g. to select brain targets in neuromodulation trials or for upcoming therapeutic neurofeedback purposes). In parallel, we are studying neuronal micro-circuits potentially involved in the generation of normal and aberrant beliefs, including hallucinations & delusions, using computational modeling (such as the Circular Inference model). This approach aims at integrating findings obtained at different scales in a unique framework (behavioral data collected during probabilistic tasks, EEG and fMRI neural signals, etc.).
fMRI capture of hallucinatory experiences in the visual (up) or auditory (down) modality in a group of adolescents suffering from first-episode of psychosis (from Jardri et al., Cereb. Cortex 2013).

Axe 2. Familiarity & Social Interactions

Sense of familiarity is a crucial aspect of recognition because it provides the experience that an item, a person, has been previously encountered, independently of its identity or of any recollection of the associated details. This ability is essential to establish appropriate social interactions. Our recent work highlighted the importance of affective processes in familiarity access, particularly for specific familiarity (e.g. family, friends, personally known streets, places, own objects...). In this axis, we examine the mechanisms and neural correlates of perceptual, affective and cognitive processes involved in familiarity feeling. Moreover, to better circumscribe the impact of familiarity disorders on social interactions, we use a transdiagnostic approach, in disorders known to impact social interactions such as schizophrenia, alcohol dependence, depersonalization, autism-spectrum disorders... A second line of research focuses on early social interactions. This project is more particularly developed through the study of the relationship between post-partum depression (PPD) and mother-baby interactions. Indeed, PPD impacts mother-baby interactions and tuning abilities, which can result in mother-child bonding impairments. Maternal behavior is one aspect of social skills for which regulation by oxytocin (OTX) is particularly documented. The main aim of this second project is to test whether we can improve mother-baby interactions in mothers at-risk for PPD using intranasal OTX. Meta-analysis showing functional maps of the brain network activated during familiar faces presentation (from Horn et al., Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 2016).

Axe 3. Brain plasticity

Brain plasticity, defined as the ability of the nervous system to adapt to environmental demands, is crucial to the brain functioning and to its homeostasis. We use severe mental illness to study different aspects of brain plasticity. The first topic of this research axis is dedicated to the development of an objective psychiatry using computer science methods. The second topic focuses on a multi-scale approach to the environment (i.e. "everything different from the gene") in psychiatric disorders (genetics, imaging and epidemiology). Several projects are developed in this field, such as the epidemiology of environmental factors in severe mental illness, the multi-scale approach to physical treatments (neuromodulation) such as transcranial magnetic stimulation and electro-convulsive therapy, and pharmacogenetics coupled with imaging in the prediction of response to treatment. Finally, the last topic focuses on the recently developed concept of plastic adaptation to pathology, highlighting the bidirectional nature of the neuroplastic modifications associated with the longitudinal evolution of psychiatric disorders, particularly in the light of the concepts of brain economy.

Axe 4.  Affective Predictions

Processing the affective value of sensory information is an essential part of individuals' interactions with their environment. Impairment of this skill is a central component of many disorders in psychiatry and addiction. This line of research is therefore interested in the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying the reaction to or anticipation of affective stimuli using neuroscience (EEG, eye-tracking, electrodermal response…) and experimental psychology (visual stimuli and hearing, virtual reality...) methods. Our current work focuses more specifically on the perception of emotional and social signals and the allocation of attentional resources to these stimuli in alcohol use disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also aims to offer new therapies dedicated to the management of these affective disorders. Illustration of the integrated model proposed in the context of severe alcohol use disorders. The model postulates that the difficulties of patients in visual perception are the result of the combination of bottom-up and top-down deficits, the latter being the cause of inappropriate predictions, including on the affective content of stimuli, early in sensory processing (adapted from Creupelandt et al., 2019).

Selected Publications

Axe 1. Hallucinations & Illusions

Humpston C, Garrison J, Orlov N, Aleman A, Jardri R, Fernyhough C & al, Real-Time Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Neurofeedback for the Relief of Distressing Auditory-Verbal Hallucinations: Methodological and Empirical Advances. Schizophr Bull, 2020.

Cachia A, Cury C, Brunelin J, Plaze M, Delmaire C, Oppenheim C & al , Deviations in early hippocampus development contribute to visual hallucinations in schizophrenia. Transl Psychiatry, 2020.

De Pierrefeu A, Fovet T, Hadj-Selem F, Lofstedt T, Ciuciu P, Lefebvre S & al , Prediction of activation patterns preceding hallucinations in patients with schizophrenia using machine learning with structured sparsity. Hum Brain Mapp, 2018.

Leroy A, Foucher JR, Pins D, Delmaire C, Thomas P, Roser MM & al , fMRI Capture of Auditory Hallucinations: Validation of the Two-Steps Method, Hum Brain Mapp, 2017.

Jardri R, Duverne S, Litvinova AS, Denève S , Experimental evidence for circular inference in schizophrenia, Nat Commun, 2017.

Axe 2.
Familiarity & Social Interactions

Ameller A, Picard A, D'Hondt F, Vaiva G, Thomas P, Pins D , Implicit Recognition of Familiar and Unfamiliar Faces in Schizophrenia: A Study of the Skin Conductance Response in Familiarity Disorders. Front Psychiatry, 2017.

Horn M, D'Hondt F, Gharib A, Gangloff L, Dumais A, Amad A & al , Association between familiarity disorders and serious violence among inmates with schizophrenia. Schizophr Res, 2017.

Horn M, Jardri R, D’Hondt F, Vaiva G, Thomas P, Pins D, The multiple neural networks of familiarity: a meta-analysis of functional imaging studies. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, 2016.

Horn M, D’Hondt F, Vaiva G, Thomas P, Pins D, Categorical perception of familiarity: evidence for a hyper-familiarity in schizophrenia. J Psychiatr Res, 2015.

Ameler A, Dereux A, Dubertret C, Vaiva G, Thomas P, Pins D, ‘What is more familiar than I?’ Self, other and familiarity in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res, 2015.


Axe 3. Brain plasticity

Amad A, Jardri R, Rousseau C, Larochelle Y, Ioannidis JPA, Naudet F , Excess Significance Bias in Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Literature for Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Psychother Psychosom, 2019.

Amad A, Expert P, Lord LD, Fovet T, Geoffroy PA , Plastic Adaptation to Pathology in Psychiatry: Are Patients with Psychiatric Disorders Pathological Experts? Neuroscientist, 2019.

Amad A, Radua J, Vaiva G, Williams S, Fovet T , Similarities between Borderline Personality Disorder and Post traumatic Stress Disorder: evidence from Resting-State Meta-Analysis. Neurosci Biobehav Rev, 2019.

Amad A, Ramoz N, Peyre H, Thomas P, Gorwood P , FKBP5 gene variants and borderline personality disorder. J Affect Disord, 2019.

Amad A, Seidman J, Draper SB, Bruchhage MMK, Lowry RG, Wheeler J & al , Motor Learning Induces Plasticity in the Resting Brain-Drumming Up a Connection,  Cortex, 2017.


Axe 4. Affective Predictions

Horn, M., Wathelet, M., Fovet, T., Amad, A., Vuotto, F., Faure, K., Astier, T., Noël, H., Henry, M., Duhem, S., Vaiva, G., & D'Hondt, F. Is Covid-19 associated with post-traumatic stress disorder?. J Clin Psychiatry,

Creupelandt, C., Maurage, P., & D'Hondt, F. Visuoperceptive impairments in severe alcohol use disorders: A critical review. Neuropsychol Rev, 2020.

Maurage, P., Villepoux, A., D'Hondt, F., Rolland, B., Brousse, G., & Peyroux, E. Social cognition deficits in severe alcohol use disorder. Alcoologie et Addictologie, 2020.

Maurage, P., Bollen, Z., Masson, N., & D'Hondt, F. (2020). Eye tracking studies exploring cognitive and affective processes among alcohol drinkers: A systematic review and perspectives. Neuropsychol Rev, 2020.

D'Hondt F, Lassonde M, Thebault-Dagher F, Bernier A, Gravel J, Vannasing P & al, Electrophysiological correlates of emotional face processing after mild traumatic brain injury in preschool children, Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci, 2017.