Michel Denis

Senior research scientist at CNRS (Emeritus)


• Born 15 April 1943, Paris. Licence de Psychologie, Université de Paris (1965). Doctorat de troisième cycle (Psychologie), Université de Paris X, Nanterre (1974). Doctorat d’Etat ès lettres et sciences humaines (Psychologie), Université de Paris VIII (1987).

• Research scientist at CNRS since 1968. Member of the Laboratoire d’Informatique pour la Mécanique et les Sciences de l’Ingénieur (LIMSI-CNRS), Human-Machine Communication Department, since 1992. Head of the Team « Human Cognition » (1992-2004). Head of the Initiative « Virtual Reality and Cognition » (2005-2008). Lecturer in the Graduate Program in Cognitive Science, Université de Paris-Sud, Orsay (until 2008).

• Member of the Comité National de la Recherche Scientifique (1991-1995, 1996-2000, 2000-2008). President of the Interdisciplinary Committee on Cognitive Science (CID 45) (2003-2008). President of the Scientific Committee « Sciences Humaines et Sociales » of ANR (2007, 2008, 2009). President of the Evaluation Committee of the Program « Retour Post-Doctorants » of ANR (2011, 2012). President of the Evaluation Committee of the Program « Apprentissages » of ANR (2013). President of the Evaluation Committee of the Program « Apprentissage, Education, Santé, Travail » of ANR (2014). Member of the Jury Junior (2000, 2001) and Jury Senior (2013, 2014, 2015) of IUF. Chair of the Advanced Grants Panel SH4-B, « The Human Mind and its Complexity », European Research Council (2008-2013). Deputy Chair of the Starting Grants Panel (2015).  Member of the Committee of Expert Evaluators of the Marie Curie Action « Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways » (2013) and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action « Innovative Training Networks » (2014, 2015).

•  Member of the EC of the International Union of Psychological Science (1992-2008; President, 2000-2004). Member of the EB of the International Council for Science (2002-2008). Vice-President of the Société Française de Psychologie (1992-2001, 2007-2009). President of the Comité National Français de Psychologie Scientifique (2008-2016). Member of the Board of COFUSI (2003-2016; Secretary-General, 2013-2016).

• Organization of conferences: First European Workshop on Imagery and Cognition (NATO ARW), Orsay, 1986; Fifth Conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology, Paris, 1992; « Modèles et Concepts pour la Science Cognitive », Paris, 1992; « Images et Langages: Multimodalité et Modélisation Cognitive », CNRS, Paris, 1993; Eighth European Workshop on Imagery and Cognition, Saint-Malo, 2001; « L’Esprit et le Sens des Sciences Cognitives », Paris, 2007; COSIT 09, Aber Wrac’h, 2009; International Symposium « From Action to Concepts: Behavioural and Neural Basis of Embodied Cognition », Lille, 2013; 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology, Paris, 2014 (Vice-President of the Congress).

• Grants: Program Cognisciences (CNRS), GIS Sciences de la Cognition, ACI Cognitique, ACI Ville, DRET, DGA, ANR. Grants from the industry sector: Renault, PSA, RATP, Bouygues Telecom. European grants: Human Capital and Mobility, STREP « Wayfinding ».

• Associate Editor: Journal of Mental Imagery (1997-2013), European Journal of Cognitive Psychology (1997-2000), Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (2001-2004). Co-Editor: Psychological Research (2005-2008).

• Awards and recognitions: Bronze Medal of the CNRS (1975); Medal of the International Union of Psychological Science (2008); Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (2011);  Doctor honoris causa of the University of La Laguna, Spain (2015); Honorary Member of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (2016).



• Sixteen authored, co-authored, edited or co-edited books and special issues of journals. About two hundred articles in refereed journals, book chapters, and articles in conference proceedings.

• Fifteen most significant papers since 2000 (in reverse chronological order):

- Denis, M., Mores, C., Gras, D., Gyselinck, V., & Daniel, M.-P. (2014). Is memory for routes enhanced by an environment’s richness in visual landmarks? Spatial Cognition and Computation, 14, 284-305.

- Picinali, L., Afonso, A., Denis, M., & Katz, B. F. G. (2014). Exploration of architectural spaces by blind people using auditory virtual reality for the construction of spatial knowledgeInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies72, 393-407.

- Avraamides, M. N., Galati, A., Pazzaglia, F., Meneghetti, C., & Denis, M. (2013). Encoding and updating spatial information presented in narrativesQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology66, 642-670.

- Afonso, A., Blum, A., Katz, B. F. G., Tarroux, P., Borst, G., & Denis, M. (2010). Structural properties of spatial representations in blind people: Scanning images constructed from haptic exploration of from locomotion in a 3-D audio virtual environmentMemory and Cognition38, 591-604.

- Denis, M. (2008). Assessing the symbolic distance effect in mental images constructed from verbal descriptions: A study of individual differences in the mental comparison of distancesActa Psychologica127, 197-210.

- Daniel, M.-P., Mores Dibo-Cohen, C., Carité, L., Boyer, P., & Denis, M. (2007). Dysfunctions of spatial cognition in schizophrenic patientsSpatial Cognition and Computation7, 287-309.

- Deyzac, E., Logie, R. H., & Denis, M. (2006). Visuospatial working memory and the processing of spatial descriptions. British Journal of Psychology97, 217-243.

- Borst, G., Kosslyn, S. M., & Denis, M. (2006). Different cognitive processes in two image-scanning paradigmsMemory and Cognition34, 475-490.

- Péruch, P., Chabanne, V., Nesa, M.-P., Thinus-Blanc, C., & Denis, M. (2006). Comparing distances in mental images constructed from visual experience or verbal descriptions: The impact of survey versus route perspectiveQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology59, 1950-1967.

- Logie, R. H., Della Sala, S., Beschin, N., & Denis, M. (2005). Dissociating mental transformations and visuo-spatial storage in working memory: Evidence from representational neglect. Memory, 13, 430-434.

- Rinck, M., & Denis, M. (2004). The metrics of spatial distance traversed during mental imageryJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition30, 1211-1218.

- Della Sala, S., Logie, R. H., Beschin, N., & Denis, M. (2004). Preserved visuo-spatial transformations in representational neglect. Neuropsychologia42, 1358-1364.

- Denis, M., Beschin, N., Logie, R. H., & Della Sala, S. (2002). Visual perception and verbal descriptions as sources for generating mental representations: Evidence from representational neglectCognitive Neuropsychology19, 97-112.

- Mellet, E., Bricogne, S., Crivello, F., Mazoyer, B., Denis, M., & Tzourio-Mazoyer, N. (2002). Neural basis of mental scanning of a topographic representation built from a textCerebral Cortex12, 1322-1330.

-  Mellet, E., Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Bricogne, S., Mazoyer, B., Kosslyn, S. M., & Denis, M. (2000). Functional anatomy of high-resolution visual mental imagery. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 12, 98-109.