Bild från Lisa Espinosas disputation
Lisa Espinosa and opponent Brian Parkinson.

Lisa successfully defended her PhD thesis

February 16, 2023

Lisa Espinosa successfully defended her doctoral thesis “Social influences on affective responses to negative experiences” at Karolinska Institutet February 16, 2023, with Professor Brian Parkinson, Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, as her opponent.

Examination board: Professor, docent Josefin Sveen, Center for Crisis Psychology, University of Bergen and Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Uppsala University; Professor Petter Gustavsson, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet; Docent Chris Askew, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Surrey.


New paper on altruism during Covid

November 3, 2022

Acute anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with higher levels of everyday altruism.
Vieira JB, Pierzchajlo S, Jangard S, Marsh AA, Olsson A
Sci Rep 2022 Nov;12(1):18619

Paper accepted in eLife

Oct 25, 2022

Neural defensive circuits underlie helping under threat in humans.
Vieira JB, Olsson A
Elife 2022 Oct;11():

New paper in BRAT

December 14, 2022

Pavlovian threat conditioning can generate intrusive memories that persist over time.
Espinosa L, Bonsall MB, Becker N, Holmes EA, Olsson A
Behav Res Ther 2022 Oct;157():104161

Irem Undeger disputation
Undeger's dissertation.

Irem successfully defended her PhD thesis

December 9, 2022

Irem Ündeger successfully defended her doctoral thesis “It’s the intention that matters: Neural representations of learning from intentional harm in social interactions” at Karolinska Institutet December 9, 2022 with PhD Joseph Dunsmoor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas, as her opponent.

Examination board: Lecturer senior Erika Jonsson Laukka, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet; Docent Janina Seubert, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Institutet; Docent Arvid Erlandsson, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University.

Jangard receives poster award
Jangard receives poster award.

Simon received poster award

May 18, 2022

Simon received a poster award at the Clinical Neuroscience Department Day, May 16, at Karolinska Institutet, for his poster “Alcohol Use Disorder Displays Trait-Related Reductions on Prosocial Decision-Making”.

New paper in Biological Psychiatry

May 18, 2022

Alcohol Use Disorder Displays Trait-Related Reductions in Prosocial Decision Making.
Jangard S, Lindström B, Khemiri L, Pärnamets P, Jayaram-Lindström N, Olsson A
Biol Psychiatry Cogn Neurosci Neuroimaging 2022 Sep;7(9):925-934

New paper in Emotion

May 17, 2022

Psychological well-being is associated with prosociality during the COVID-19 pandemic: A comparison of Swedish and Chinese samples.
Pan Y, Vieira JB, Pärnamets P, Jangard S, Cheng X, Zhang Y, Olsson A
Emotion 2022 Aug;():


Yi disputation
Yi's dissertation.

Jonathan successfully defended his PhD

December 16, 2021

Jonathan successfully defended his doctoral thesis, The impact of social information on emotional learning, on Thursday 16 December, 2021, with Professor Disa Sauter, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, as his opponent.

Examination board: Dr. India Morrison, Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Linköping University; Dr. Francisco Esteves, Department of Psychology and Social Work, Mid Sweden University; Dr. Roland Van den Berg, Department of Psychology, Stockholm University.

Forthcoming paper in Nature Communications

November 9, 2021

National identity predicts public health support during a global pandemic.
Van Bavel JJ,..., Olsson A,..., Jangard S,..., Pan Y, Papp Z, Pärnamets P,..., Vieira JB, von Sikorski C, Walker AC, Watermeyer J, Wetter E, Whillans A, Willardt R, Wohl MJA, Wójcik AD, Wu K, Yamada Y, Yilmaz O, Yogeeswaran K, Ziemer CT, Zwaan RA, Boggio PS
Nat Commun 2022 Jan;13(1):517

Forthcoming paper in Royal Society Open Science

November 9, 2021

Model-based representational similarity analysis of blood-oxygen-level-dependent fMRI captures threat learning in social interactions.
Undeger I, Visser RM, Becker N, de Boer L, Golkar A, Olsson A
R Soc Open Sci 2021 Nov;8(11):202116

New paper in PNAS

September 6, 2021

Observation of others' threat reactions recovers memories previously shaped by firsthand experiences.
Haaker J, Diaz-Mataix L, Guillazo-Blanch G, Stark SA, Kern L, LeDoux JE, Olsson A
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Jul;118(30):


Simon awarded the Bertil Göransson Scholarship

November 27, 2020

Simon has been awarded this year’s Bertil Göransson Scholarship – a 30 000 kr award for alcohol researchers, financed by Systembolaget (Swedish press release).

Philip awarded Swedish Research Council grant

November 4, 2020

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.

New paper in Behaviour Research and Therapy

November 1, 2020

Social safety learning: Shared safety abolishes the recovery of learned threat.
Pan Y, Olsson A, Golkar A
Behav Res Ther 2020 Dec;135():103733

New paper in Molecular Autism

September 24, 2020

Enhanced social learning of threat in adults with autism.
Espinosa L, Lundin Kleberg J, Hofvander B, Berggren S, Bölte S, Olsson A
Mol Autism 2020 Sep;11(1):71

New paper in PLOS Computational Biology

September 9, 2020

Integration of social cues and individual experiences during instrumental avoidance learning.
Pärnamets P, Olsson A
PLoS Comput Biol 2020 Sep;16(9):e1008163

New paper accepted in Proc. Royal Soc. B

August 24, 2020

Help or flight? Increased threat imminence promotes defensive helping in humans.
Vieira JB, Schellhaas S, Enström E, Olsson A
Proc Biol Sci 2020 Aug;287(1933):20201473

New paper accepted in Cerebral Cortex

April 27, 2020

Neural Pattern Similarity Unveils the Integration of Social Information and Aversive Learning.
Undeger I, Visser RM, Olsson A
Cereb Cortex 2020 Sep;30(10):5410-5419

New paper accepted in Proc. Royal Soc. B

April 27, 2020

Physiological synchrony predicts observational threat learning in humans.
Pärnamets P, Espinosa L, Olsson A
Proc Biol Sci 2020 May;287(1927):20192779

New paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience

February 17, 2020

The neural and computational systems of social learning.
Olsson A, Knapska E, Lindström B
Nat Rev Neurosci 2020 Apr;21(4):197-212

New paper accepted in Emotion

January 17, 2020

Learning biases to angry and happy faces during Pavlovian aversive conditioning.
Stussi Y, Pourtois G, Olsson A, Sander D
Emotion 2021 Jun;21(4):742-756


Andreas appointed full professor

September 2, 2019

Andreas Olsson has been appointed Professor of Psychology at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, from 1 September 2019. Congratulations, Andreas!

New paper in Scientific Reports

June 24, 2019

Anxious behaviour in a demonstrator affects observational learning.
Selbing I, Olsson A
Sci Rep 2019 Jun;9(1):9181

Department day 2019 Undeger poster award
Undeger on our department day 2019.

Clinical Neuroscience Department Day

May 15, 2019

Following an afternoon of presentations, the day ended with a poster session. Irem won the best poster award for the Division of Psychology.

Undeger, I., Visser, R. M., & Olsson, A. (2019, March) Associative learning via intentional and unintentional actions. Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s 26th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.
Associative learning via intentional and unintentional actions. Cognitive Neuroscience Society’s 26th Annual Meeting.

Irem receives CNS Graduate Student Award

March 24, 2019

Irem has won a Graduate Student Award (GSA) at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society 26th Annual Meeting. You can see her poster here.

New paper accepted in PNAS

January 18, 2019

Social threat learning transfers to decision making in humans.
Lindström B, Golkar A, Jangard S, Tobler PN, Olsson A
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 Mar;116(10):4732-4737


Andreas Olsson föreläsning
Andreas Olsson.

Andreas awarded Consolidator Grant

December 7, 2018

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.

Emotion lab VR
VR system.

New virtual reality system

November 15, 2018

We’ve received delivery of our new virtual reality system. Irem and Jonathan will soon begin initial testing in this exciting environment.

New review on Social Learning

October 17, 2018

Social regulation of survival circuits through learning.

Olsson A., FeldmanHall O, Haaker J, Hensler T

Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 2018 Dec; 24: 161–167

Gruppens grepp, bokomslag
Book cover.

Andreas at Göteborg Book Fair

September 27, 2018

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.

CogSci 2018 Conference Paper

July 25, 2018

Building and Dismantling Trust: From Group Learning to Character Judgments.

Pärnamets P, Granwald T, Olsson A

Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX, 2018

Armita Golkar.
Armita Golkar. Foto: Sören Vilks

Armita to give Performance Lecture at Dramaten

June 21, 2018

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).

Press release (link).

Philip in magazine Medical Science

February 26, 2018

The magazine Medical Science reports on work by Philip and colleagues: Curious about trust: Who do you believe? (Also available 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.


Emotion Lab’s research on TV

December 12, 2017

Swedish public television visited Emotion Lab to report on how people learn from others. The story aired in SVT’s Nobelstudion.

Nobelstudion Emotion Lab
Nobelstudion visiting Emotion Lab.

New paper accepted in NeuroImage

November 21, 2017

A common neural network differentially mediates direct and social fear learning.
Lindström B, Haaker J, Olsson A
Neuroimage 2018 Feb;167():121-129

New paper accepted in Scientific Reports

November 20, 2017

Beliefs about Others' Abilities Alter Learning from Observation.
Selbing I, Olsson A
Sci Rep 2017 Nov;7(1):16173

Ida successfully defended her PhD

September 18, 2017

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

August 1, 2017

The role of a "common is moral" heuristic in the stability and change of moral norms.
Lindström B, Jangard S, Selbing I, Olsson A
J Exp Psychol Gen 2018 Feb;147(2):228-242

New paper in Scientific Reports

July 20, 2017

The interplay of social group biases in social threat learning.
Golkar A, Olsson A
Sci Rep 2017 Aug;7(1):7685

New paper in Trends in Cognitive Sciences

June 7, 2017

Social Fear Learning: from Animal Models to Human Function.
Debiec J, Olsson A
Trends Cogn Sci 2017 Jul;21(7):546-555

New paper in Nature Communications

April 12, 2017

Endogenous opioids regulate social threat learning in humans.
Haaker J, Yi J, Petrovic P, Olsson A
Nat Commun 2017 May;8():15495

Philip wins SANS Poster Award

February 27, 2017

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

January 17, 2017

Neural signals of vicarious extinction learning.
Golkar A, Haaker J, Selbing I, Olsson A
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2016 Oct;11(10):1541-9


Philip awarded SRC Grant

December 1, 2016

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

December 1, 2016

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”.

New paper in SCAN

October 11, 2016

Neural signals of vicarious extinction learning.
Golkar A, Haaker J, Selbing I, Olsson A
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2016 Oct;11(10):1541-9

Tanaz successfully defended her PhD

October 21, 2016

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

October 20, 2016

To fear or not to fear? Mechanisms of fear and safety learning.
Guest speakers: Armita Golkar, Emily Holmes (Karolinska Institutet), Merel Kindt (U. of Amsterdam), and Grit Hein (U. of Bern)

New paper accepted in SCAN

October 1, 2016

Conditioned social dominance threat: observation of others' social dominance biases threat learning.
Haaker J, Molapour T, Olsson A
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2016 Oct;11(10):1627-37

New paper accepted in PLoS One

July 27, 2016

Co-Evolution of Social Learning and Evolutionary Preparedness in Dangerous Environments.
Lindström B, Selbing I, Olsson A
PLoS One 2016 ;11(8):e0160245

New paper in Frontiers

June 14, 2016

Aversive Learning and Trait Aggression Influence Retaliatory Behavior.
Molapour T, Lindström B, Olsson A
Front Psychol 2016 ;7():833

Philip receives Dissertation Prize

April 26, 2016

Philip receives the 2016 Robert J. Glushko Dissertation Prize awarded by the Cognitive Science Society and the Glushko-Samuelson Foundation.

Irem receives Poster award at the EMHFC

April 26, 2016

Irem receives the first price in the Poster competition at the Eighth European Meeting on Humain Fear Conditioning in Utrecht (2016).

Undeger, I. & Olsson, A. (2016). Effects of agency on learning fear from others. European Meeting of Humain Fear Conditioning, Utrecht, April 2016.

New paper accepted in JEP:G

March 22, 2016

Immunization against social fear learning.
Golkar A, Olsson A
J Exp Psychol Gen 2016 Jun;145(6):665-71

Björn discusses on BBC

January 11, 2016

Björn discusses our research on BBC Radio 4.

Listen to it here, or read the article linked below.

Mechanisms of social avoidance learning can explain the emergence of adaptive and arbitrary behavioral traditions in humans.
Lindström B, Olsson A
J Exp Psychol Gen 2015 Jun;144(3):688-703


Armita receives psychology award

November 19, 2015

The Swedish National Committee for Psychological Sciences at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, granted Armita Golkar the award for outstanding young researcher in Psychology.

Andreas and Tanaz on Swedish radio

November 6, 2015

Read or listen here.

Paper accepted in Psychological Science

July 9, 2015

Vicarious Fear Learning Depends on Empathic Appraisals and Trait Empathy.
Olsson A, McMahon K, Papenberg G, Zaki J, Bolger N, Ochsner KN
Psychol Sci 2016 Jan;27(1):25-33

Paper accepted in NeuroImage

July 7, 2015

Neural correlates of biased social fear learning and interaction in an intergroup context.
Molapour T, Golkar A, Navarrete CD, Haaker J, Olsson A
Neuroimage 2015 Nov;121():171-83

Paper accepted in JEP:G

February 26, 2015

Mechanisms of social avoidance learning can explain the emergence of adaptive and arbitrary behavioral traditions in humans.
Lindström B, Olsson A
J Exp Psychol Gen 2015 Jun;144(3):688-703

Paper accepted in Emotion

February 9, 2015

Testosterone and estrogen impact social evaluations and vicarious emotions: A double-blind placebo-controlled study.
Olsson A, Kopsida E, Sorjonen K, Savic I
Emotion 2016 Jun;16(4):515-23

Jan Haaker receives grant from DFG

January 21, 2015


Paper accepted in Biology Letters

December 11, 2014

Social learning of fear and safety is determined by the demonstrator's racial group.
Golkar A, Castro V, Olsson A
Biol Lett 2015 Jan;11(1):20140817

Paper accepted in JEP:General

December 10, 2014

A ten-year follow-up of a study of memory for the attack of September 11, 2001: Flashbulb memories and memories for flashbulb events.
Hirst W, Phelps EA, Meksin R, Vaidya CJ, Johnson MK, Mitchell KJ, Buckner RL, Budson AE, Gabrieli JD, Lustig C, Mather M, Ochsner KN, Schacter D, Simons JS, Lyle KB, Cuc AF, Olsson A
J Exp Psychol Gen 2015 Jun;144(3):604-23

Andreas selected as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow

December 5, 2014

Press release.

Björn receives post-doc award from the Swedish Research Council

December 3, 2014

Björn Lindström received post-doc funding from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).

Felicia Lind