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Laurie-Anne Sapey-Triomphe

Laureate of the L'Oréal-UNESCO "Young Talent" grant 2016

Published on : October 12, 2016

Former student and agrégée of the ENS de Lyon

Laurie-Abbe Sapey-Triomphe
Laurie-Anne Sapey-Triomphe was trained in biology at the ENS de Lyon. She is currently preparing a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center of the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1. In parallel, she teaches Master’s students at the ENS de Lyon. The subject of her thesis: “Interference and perceptual learning in autism: a neurophysiological and behavioral approach.”

In 2015, Laurie-Anne Sapey-Triomphe won the first prize in the local final of the competition “My thesis in 180 seconds”. Passionate about research, she has always sought to raise awareness among the public around issues related to autism.

Autism: the infinite details of perception
To admire a painting, you need to step back a little. If you get too close, the details appear but you lose sight of the overall picture. This is one of the hypotheses to explain how those who suffer from autism spectrum disorders (ASD) – some 650,000 people in France – perceive the world. “Indeed, if you perceive all the details of a stimulus (a smile, for instance) rather than its main characteristic (its crescent shape), then it will be harder to put it into a category and to interpret it well,” explains Laurie-Anne Sapey-Triomphe. Through her thesis, she strives to understand how people with ASD perceive the world and how this fuels their internal imagery.
At the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, she led six studies (surveys, behavioral experiments, MRI studies), which highlighted an atypical perception in ASD. A better understanding of this perception and hypersensitivity could pave the way to a better description of ASD, and appropriate support to help better integrate these people at the social and professional levels.

A short bio
  • 1989: Born in Lyon
  • 2007: Scientific Baccalauréat in European section, followed by two years of preparatory class in biology (BCPST)
  • September 2009: Student at the École normale supérieure de Lyon, Bachelor’s in biology
  • June 2012: Master of Education at the ENS de Lyon and Agrégation in natural and life sciences
  • June 2013: Master of Research in Biosciences at the ENS (valedictorian)
  • September 2013 to 2016: PhD in cognitive neuroscience; teaching at the Master’s level at the ENS de Lyon


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