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Jessica Bourgin

Jessica Bourgin

Doctorante en neuropsychologie

Département de psychologie
Université Savoie Mont Blanc Jacob Bellecombette
BP 1104
73011 Chambery Cedex France

Research interests

  1. Normal and pathological aging (Alzheimer’s disease)
  2. Emotional attention


Functional repercussions of amygdala atrophy on emotional attention in Alzheimer’s disease : dissociation between automatic and controlled processes

Advisors : Pascal Hot & Laetitia Silvert

Keywords : emotion, amygdala, emotional processing, normal aging, Alzheimer’s disease

Recent neuroimaging studies suggest that the amygdala could be atrophied as early as the prodromal stage of Alzheimer‘s disease (AD ; e.g. Horinek, 2007). However, the level of atrophy in amygdalar volume and its behavioral consequences in patients remain largely unknown. This thesis will assess the relevance of assessing amygdalar activity for the early diagnosis of AD. Main goals will be to examine i) amygdalar volume loss and ii) amygdalar activity and behavioral correlates during emotional tasks in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and mild AD.
Protocols will be constructed in the theoretical framework of a promising hypothesis that considers the amygdala to be differentially involved in automatic and controlled emotional processing. This hypothesis is supported by recent data suggesting that automatic emotional relevance processing is selectively impaired, whereas compensatory mechanisms are engaged in explicit emotional categorization tasks.

Concerning the progressive atrophy of the amygdala in dementia,we will develop different protocols to unravel whether amygdalar changes constitute a promising biological marker of AD. The thesis will focus on links between emotional mechanisms and monitored attentional processes in AD. On one hand, some work shows that a decrease in emotional processing can be partially reduced when patients are invited to use an appropriate strategy, questioning the existence of a decline in monitored emotional processing in AD (Hot et al., 2013 ; Richard-Mornas et al., 2012). In order to test this assumption, fMRI study will be conducted to analyze the link between functional connectivity between amygdala and prefrontal cortex (Rosenbaum et al., 2010) and performance in monitored attention tasks involving emotional material. On the other hand, recent works suggest that cognitive difficulties in AD patients may be due to an uncertainty feeling regarding their capacities and may be modulated by a positive mood induction (Hot et al., 2014). To explore this issue, research will be conducted to assess the emotional induction on AD patients’ performances during monitored attention tasks. Studies will be performed in neuroscience approaches (EEG, MRI and Tdcs).


Bourgin, J., Silvert, L., Borg, C., Morand, A., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., & Hot, P. (in preparation). Do older adults and patients with AD have a crush for crashes ? Impact of emotionally negative information on attentional processes in a visual search paradigm.

Bourgin, J., Silvert, L., & Hot, P. (in preparation). Involvement of amygdala alterations in emotional processing in Alzheimer’s disease : a review.

Hoyau, E., Bourgin, J., Kauffmann, L., Pichat, C., Cousin., E., Jaillard, A.,
Hot, P., & Baciu, M. (in preparation). Functional connectivity at rest and access to semantic representations during healthy aging.

Bourgin, J., Guyader, N., Chauvin, A., Juphard, A., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., Silvert, L., & Hot, P. (2018). Early emotional attention is impacted in Alzheimer’s disease : an eye-tracking study. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 63(4), 1445-1458. doi : 10.3233/JAD-180170.

Kauffmann, L., Bourgin, J., Guyader, N., & Peyrin, C. (2015). The neural bases of the semantic interference of spatial frequency-based information in scenes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(12), 2394-2405. doi : 10.1162/jocn_a_00861.


Bourgin, J., Silvert, L., & Hot, P. (2018). Do patients with Alzheimer’s disease still have a crush on crashes ? Emotional attention in pathological aging. Journée Scientifique de l’EDISCE, Mai 31, Grenoble, France.

Bourgin, J., Morand, A., Cronenberger, L., Hajjam, N., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., Silvert, L., & Hot, P. (2018). Impact of emotionally negative information on engagement and disengagement processes in aging : a visual search paradigm in eye-tracking. The Consortium of European Research on Emotion (CERE), April 4-5, Glasgow, Scotland.

Bourgin, J., Oliva, S., Guyader, N., Chauvin, A., Juphard, A., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., & Hot, P. (2016). Attentional capture by emotional information in Alzheimer’s disease : automatic and motivational processes. Annual Meeting of the Société de Psychologie et de Neurosciences Cognitives on "Emotional Brain and Pathology", September 29-30, Lille, France.

Bourgin, J., Chauvin, A., Guyader, N., Juphard, A., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., & Hot, P. (2016). Attentional capture by emotional information in Alzheimer’s disease. International Organization of Psychophysiology, August 31-September 4, Havana, Cuba.

Bourgin, J., Guyader, N., Chauvin, A., Juphard, A., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., & Hot, P. (2016). Processus attentionnels dans la pathologie d’Alzheimer : où est passée l’émotion ? Colloque du Groupe de Réflexion en Psychopathologie Cognitive, Juin 9-10, Chambéry, France.

Bourgin, J., Maire, C., Kauffmann, L., Chauvin, A., Guyader, N., & Peyrin, C. (2012). Comparisons of static and dynamic paradigms to investigate the Coarse-to-Fine categorization of scenes. European Conference on Visual Processing, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy.

Oral communications

Bourgin, J., Morand, A., Sauvée, M., Moreaud, O., Silvert, L., & Hot, P. (2018). Influence d’une information émotionnelle négative sur les processus d’engagement et de désengagement dans la Maladie d’Alzheimer : un paradigme de recherche visuelle en eye-tracking. Journées d’Etude du Vieillissement, Mars 5-6, Chambéry, France.

Bourgin, J., Hot, P., & Silvert, L. (2017). Attention émotionnelle dans la Maladie d’Alzheimer : approche en oculométrie. Séminaire invité, Juillet 6, Clermont-Ferrand, France.

Hot P., Bourgin, J. (2016). Contribution of affective neuroscience to the study of Alzheimer’s disease. International Organization of Psychophysiology, September 1-4, La Havane, Cuba.

Scientific collaborations

GIPSA-lab, Grenoble : Nathalie Guyader, PhD.

Cellule de NeuroImagerie Fonctionnelle, plateforme IRMaGe, CHU de Grenoble : Emilie Cousin, PhD, Cédric Pichat.

Unité de Neuropsychologie - Pole de Psychiatrie et Neurologie, Centre Mémoire de Ressources et de Recherche, Grenoble : Drs. Olivier Moreaud, Mathilde Sauvée & Alexandra Juphard.

CHU Saint-Etienne, Centre Mémoire de Ressources et de Recherche : Céline Borg, PhD.


2016-2019 : Doctoral studies in cognitive sciences and neuropsychology (grant from ADR project, ARC 2 "Qualité de vie et vieillissement")

2016 : Master Research in Neuropsychology, Grenoble-Alpes University, Grenoble, France

2014 : Master Research in Cognitive and Social Psychology, Pierre-Mendès France University, Grenoble, France

2011 : Bachelor in psychology, Pierre-Mendès France University, Grenoble, France

Teaching : 2016-2019

Academic work methodology : Tutorial classes (1st year), 56h

Statistics : Tutorial classes (1st year), 45h

Experimental methodology : Tutorial classes (1st year), 18h

Neurophysiology : Tutorial classes (3rd year), 10h

Emotion & cognition : Lecture (4th year), 3h

External links