Andreas Olsson's research group

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Emotion and social learning

(This research group has its own dedicated homepage at:

The general aim of Andreas Olsson's groups research is to better understand the mechanisms of fear learning and other affective processes in social situations. To this aim, the group investigates the learning and regulation of fear and its interaction with cognition, ranging from attention and executive functions to the processing of complex social information, and related behavior.

Andreas Olsson's groups research is motivated by a functional-evolutionary perspective, drawing on theory and methods from several disciplines, including cognitive neuroscience, psychophysiology, social psychology, and learning theory.

Research projects

  • Basic mechanisms of fear learning and extinction
  • Learning of aversions (e.g. fear and dislike) and avoidance behavior in social situations
  • Learning of safety in social situations
  • Relationship between emotional learning and social cognition
  • Emotion and attention

Selected publications

Racial bias shapes social reinforcement learning.
Lindström B, Selbing I, Molapour T, Olsson A
Psychol Sci 2014 Mar;25(3):711-9

Other people as means to a safe end: vicarious extinction blocks the return of learned fear.
Golkar A, Selbing I, Flygare O, Ohman A, Olsson A
Psychol Sci 2013 Nov;24(11):2182-90

Social learning of fear.
Olsson A, Phelps E
Nat. Neurosci. 2007 Sep;10(9):1095-102

Learning fears by observing others: the neural systems of social fear transmission.
Olsson A, Nearing K, Phelps E
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2007 Mar;2(1):3-11

The role of social groups in the persistence of learned fear.
Olsson A, Ebert J, Banaji M, Phelps E
Science 2005 Jul;309(5735):785-7

Group members

Troy DildineGraduate Student
Lisa EspinosaPhD student, Graduate Student
Jan HaakerAssociated
Tove HenslerResearch assistant
Björn LindströmGraduate Student
Tanaz MolapourPostdoc
Andreas OlssonResearch team leader, Senior lecturer
Philip PärnametsPostdoc
Ida SelbingPhD student, Graduate Student
Irem UndegerGraduate Student
Jonathan YiGraduate Student