Grégory Dessart (English)

              GD ISSRC pic - copie 2.jpeg (Gregory Dessart)

Religious studies (PhD)
Pychology (MA, BA)

Phone: +41 (0)79 452 96 82
Email: g.r.dessart<at>

Research Interests:

  • Psychology of religion - God representations
  • Cognitive psychopathology - attenuated positive psychotic symptoms, trauma and coping strategies
  • Visual methods (e.g., children's drawings), mixed methods
  • Developmental psychology

> List of publications

English presentation

My academic journey has started at the University of Liège (Belgium), where I got an MA in psychology (expertise areas: behavioral therapies and clinical neuropsychology). My main research interest then lay in the tendency for individuals from the general population to display schizotypal traits (e.g., hallucination and delusion proneness). From 2008 to 2013, I conducted some research in collaboration with Prof. Frank Larøi at the Cognitive Psychopathology Unit (University of Liège). My work initially addressed existing links between schizotypy, adverse life events, sensitivity to stress and emotion regulation strategies. I then moved on to exploring the negative symptomatology associated with schizophrenia, especially apathy, among in- and outpatients.

I have completed a doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Pierre-Yves Brandt between April 2015 and February 2019. It took place at The Institute for Social Sciences of Religions, University of Lausanne, and was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation for Scientific Research (SNSF - CR11I1_156383). It addressed how children represent God by visual means (i.e., drawings). Participants were aged 5 to 17 years old, in French-speaking Switzerland. Three main lines of inquiry have been developed: co-occurring humanness and non-humanness in divine figures, gender-typing and emotional expression. For each of them, both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed. During that time, I have been working on an interdisciplinary team analyzing similar data collected in various countries marked by different religious traditions (website). I also had the chance to collaborate with Dr. Richard Jolley and Claire Barlow during a 6-month research stay at Staffordshire University (UK). It was aimed to develop my third line of inquiry on emotionality (

Currently, my academic work is moving towards an integration of cognitive psychopathology and psychology of religion, such as found on the issue of ultra-trail running. I have conducted an exploratory study on online social media which has pointed to the frequent mobilization of central themes associated with this sports discipline, including mental health and religiosity/spirituality. Another study is being carried out with Dr. Roberta Antonini Philippe (ISSUL, UNIL). It examines the relationships between regular sports practice, attenuated positive psychotic symptoms and religious coping.

Overall, my research is developed around individual proneness to have unusual experiences (possibly religious ones), external events (such as adverse life events, education, sports activities) and the role played by religious or spiritual representations. One goal is to assess how these may impact on moral and pro-social behaviors. A main interest lies in visual and mixed methods as well as in developmental patterns, both among children and adult participants.