Welcome to our new lab manager Jessica Määttä!
Join the team! We are looking for a new postdoc in social neuroscience of intergroup relations. You can find a full description and information about the application process here.
Update: This position has been filled
Join the team! We are looking for a new lab manager. Click here for full description and information about the application process (in Swedish).
Philip has been awarded 3.2 MSEK to study how decisions and social learning shape intergroup trust.
Trust is fundamental to social behavior and to the functioning of society. Recent work has shown that increasing diversity in society might lead to lower levels of trust. However, how such changes in trust are acquired by individuals and shaped by their experiences is not known. Here we propose to investigate trust as a learning phenomenon, using methods and theories from experimental social psychology and computational reinforcement learning theory. By doing so we address a critical gap in the literature and contribute a behavior-based approach to studying a trust complementing existing survey-based methods. Over the course of three studies we will investigate how participants learn to trust and distrust social partners based on their own and their partners’ ethnic group membership. In the first, we will investigate how decisions about whom to interact with can bias what experiences are available to learn from. In the second, we will investigate the role of observational social learning shaping trust expectations. In the third, we will leverage insights from the first two studies to pilot interventions aimed at increasing trust. The studies will be the first of their kind taking a comprehensive learning approach to trust between members of different ethnic groups and provide critical information how individual experiences shape intergroup trust. These findings can, in turn, not only inform existing theoretical debates but further translational efforts targeting societal trust.
This study shows that social safety learning is optimized by a combination of direct conditioned stimulus exposure and vicariously transmitted safety signals. Our work might help identify psychological and social strategies that can be used to counteract maladaptive fears in humans.
The paper Enhanced social learning of threat in adults with autism is out in Molecular Biology. Authored by Lisa Espinosa, Johan Lundin Kleberg, Björn Hofvander, Steve Berggren, Sven Bölte, and Andreas Olsson.
We show that individuals with autism spectrum disorder, ASD, (versus healthy controls) display stronger vicarious threat learning in spite of less attention to the demonstrators’ face. ASD might impair the ability to downregulate threat responses in social situations. Our findings also show that vicarious threat learning does not require a typically developed social cognition.
The paper Integration of social cues and individual experiences during instrumental avoidance learning is out in PLOS Computational Biology. Authored by Philip Pärnamets and Andreas Olsson.
This research investigates the algorithms by which people learn how reliable social partners’ advice is about potentially dangerous choice options and how they can repeatedly leverage that information in novel environments.
The paper Help or flight? Increased threat imminence promotes defensive helping in humans has been accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Authored by Joana Vieira, Sabine Schellhaas, Erik Enström, and Andreas Olsson.
We demonstrate that high threat imminence (immediate risk of another person receiving a shock) facilitated helping behavior. Our findings suggest that, just like higher threat imminence fosters active avoidance from self-directed threats (fight-or-flight), it may promote helping when others are under threat.
Perceived threat and acute anxiety predict increased everyday altruism during the COVID-19 pandemic, by Joana Vieira, Stephen Pierzchajlo, Simon Jangard, Abigail A. Marsh, and Andreas Olsson.
The paper Neural pattern similarity unveils the integration of social information and aversive learning has been accepted for publication in Cerebral Cortex. Authored by Irem Undeger, Renee M Visser and Andreas Olsson.
The paper Physiological synchrony predicts observational threat learning in humans been accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Authored by Philip Pärnamets, Lisa Espinosa and Andreas Olsson.
The paper The neural and computational systems of social learning has been accepted for publication in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Authored by Andreas Olsson, Ewelina Knapska & Björn Lindström.
The article Learning biases to angry and happy faces during Pavlovian aversive conditioning has been accepted for publication in Emotion. Authored by Yoann Stussi, Gilles Pourtois, Andreas Olsson & David Sander.
Andreas Olsson has been appointed Professor of Psychology at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, from 1 September 2019.
Welcome to our new postdocs Amy Walsh and Yafeng Pan.
The original research article Anxious behaviour in a demonstrator affects observational learning has been published in Scientific Reports. Authored by Ida Selbing and Andreas Olsson.
Join the team! We are looking for two new postdocs. For full descriptions and information about the application process, see the links below.
Postdoc in social and cognitive neuroscience, Emotion Lab/Andreas Olsson’s research group,
Postdoc in decision-making and social/affective neuroscience, Emotion Lab/Andreas Olsson’s research group, jointly with Marc Guitart-Masip’s research group, Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet.
Irem has won a Graduate Student Award (GSA) at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society 26th Annual Meeting. You can see her poster, Associative learning via intentional and unintentional actions, here.
The original research article Social threat learning transfers to decision-making in humans has been accepted for publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Authored by Björn Lindström, Armita Golkar, Simon Jangard, Philippe Tobler and Andreas Olsson.
Andreas has been awarded the Consolidator Grant (12 M SEK) from the Swedish Research Council for the project “Learning of social values in threatening and safe environments” (2019-2024). The grant will be used to continue our work on how people learn social values, and what cues and conditions leads to fearing or trusting others, both in the lab and in the field.
Welcome to our new postdoc Nina Becker.
This week, Andreas is at the Göteborg Book Fair (Bokmässan) to present his recent book “Gruppens grepp” [Grip of the Group], co-authored with Mikael Klintman and Thomas Lunderquist. It is aimed at those interested in how predjudices are formed, why we have a need to divide the world into “us” and “them” and what throws a spanner in the works of tolerance.
Andreas and Mikael will discuss these topics on Friday 28 September, 12:00-12:20, on Psykologiscenen, C-hallen Monternummer C04:32.
Welcome to our new postdoc Joana Vieira.
Fear is a prerequisite for survival. Fear can also prevent us from living. Where does the fear come from? And how are we affected by it? These are some of the questions that psychology researcher Armita Golkar addresses in the third performance of The Royal Dramatic Theatre’s and Nobel Center’s series Performance Lecture. Under the direction of Alexander Mørk-Eidem. Premieres on Lilla scenen on September 11 2018 (the lecture will be given in Swedish).
Who do you trust? Rumours – even when we know they are untrue, affects how much we trust others. And unfortunately, it is easier to destroy trust than to build it. Our capability to trust in others also varies, the researchers are trying to find out more.
Postdoc position available at Emotion Lab. The candidate should have a strong quantitative background, and experience of design, implementation and analysis of behavioral and fMRI experiments. We are particularly looking for someone with strong computational programming skills.
New paper accepted in Scientific Reports
Ida successfully defended her PhD
Ida successfully defended her doctoral thesis, Learning from the Behaviors and Experiences of Others, on Monday 18 September (2017) with Professor Christian Ruff (University of Zurich, Department of Economics) as her opponent.
Examination board: Professor Peter Juslin (Uppsala University), Professor Anna Dreber Almenberg (Stockholm School of Economics) and Dr Marc Guitart-Masip (Karolinska Institutet)
New paper accepted in JEP: General
Behaviour is considered more moral the more common it is
Is it less wrong to avoid tax if everyone else is doing it? A new study from Karolinska Institutet demonstrates that our view of what is morally right or wrong is shaped by how widespread a particular behaviour is. The results, which are presented in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, can improve our understanding of the psychological mechanisms behind attitudinal change in society.
Social norms of right and wrong are vital to a well-functioning society. However, such moral standards are changeable and the psychological mechanisms driving this change are unknown. Now, researchers at Karolinska Institutet report that our view of selfish and altruistic behaviours changes depending on how common they are.
The results are based on a combination of behavioural experiments, mathematical models and computer simulations. In the experiments, the participants first observed other people’s behaviour in a so-called “public goods game”, in which players receive a sum of money and then choose either to invest it to varying degrees so that it benefits everyone in the group, or to keep it for themselves. After every round, the participants were asked to judge the different choices as morally right or wrong, and whether the choices ought to be penalised with a reduction in how much the players gained.
An idea based on flawed logic
Altruistic behaviour was considered more morally right than selfish, but both behaviours were judged to be more moral and less deserving of penalty if the majority exhibited them than if they were uncommon. The commonness of the selfish behaviour also affected the participants’ willingness to themselves pay to punish selfishness.
“Tolerance of selfish behaviour increased when the majority of the players kept the money for themselves, which surprised me,” says principal investigator
, senior lecturer at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience. “The fact that a behaviour is common doesn’t automatically mean that it’s right – this idea is based on flawed logic that confuses facts with moral values.”
The study shows our view of what is morally right and wrong has strong similarities with social conformity, in that we tend to adapt ourselves to the people around us and how they behave. This means that changes in our social environment can quickly alter our moral compass.
Explains why moral attitudes change
“This is interesting from several angles, and could explain why moral attitudes change over time, such as those towards public goods or legality,” says Björn Lindström, postdoc at University of Zürich and Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience.
The study was financed by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the European Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and Forte.
New paper in Scientific Reports
New paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Tove Hensler new Lab Manager
Starting April 2017 Tove Hensler is the new Lab Manager of the Emotion Lab!
Philip wins SANS Poster Award
Philip is part of the 20 most highly rated abstracts that will be presented as posters at this year Social and Affective Neuroscience Society (SANS) conference at UCLA.
New paper accepted in Nature Protocols
Position as lab-manager available
The Emotion Lab is looking for a new lab-manager. Find add at https://ki.mynetworkglobal.com/se/what:job/jobID:129792/
Update: this position has been filled
Philip awarded SRC Grant
Philip has received an international postdoctoral grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskaprsådet) for three years. He will join Jay Van Bavel’s Social Perception and Evaluation Lab at New York University for 2 years and spend his returning year with Emotion Lab.
Philip awarded dissertation prize
Vetenskapssocieteten i Lund (Learned Society of Lund) has awarded Philip with a prize from AWK Gleerups fund for his 2015 dissertation “Observing and manipulating preferences in real time”.
Fully funded PhD position
Fully funded PhD position with Prof. Emily Holmes and Dr. Andreas Olsson
See more details at https://ki.mynetworkglobal.com/en/what:job/jobID:122924/where:4/
Update: this position has been filled
Troy Dildine new KI-NIH PhD student
Victoria Spring new visiting PhD student
Victoria Spring, a psychology PhD student at the Pennsylvania State University is visiting the Emotion Lab for a year.
Tanaz successfully defended her PhD
Tanaz successfully defended her doctoral thesis, The role of aversive learning in social interactions, on Friday October 21st (2016 with Dr. Grit Hein (University of Bern) as her opponent.
Examination board: Prof. Håkan Fischer (Stockholm University), Dr. Fredrik Åhs (Uppsala University) and Dr. Lisa Thorell (Karolinska Institutet).
Symposium at the Royal Academy of Science
New paper accepted in SCAN
New paper accepted in SCAN
Philip receives Dissertation Prize
Irem receives Poster award at the EMHFC
Undeger, I. & Olsson, A. (2016). Effects of agency on learning fear from others. European Meeting of Humain Fear Conditioning, Utrecht, April 2016.
Armita receives psychology award
Philip Pärnamets joins the lab
Paper accepted in Psych. Science
Lisa Espinosa new Lab Manager
Since April 2015 Lisa Espinosa is the new Lab Manager.
Paper accepted in Emotion
Jan Haaker receives grant from DFG
Paper accepted in Biology Letters
Paper accepted in JEP:General
Andreas selected as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow
Björn receives post-doc award from the Swedish Research Council
Björn Lindström received post-doc funding from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)