Andreas Olsson's research group


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 learning threat and safety (extinction)
  • Social (e.g. vicarious and instructed) learning
  • Social interaction and decision-making
  • Impact of social cognition on emotional learning
  • Development of experimental models of real world learning and psychological treatments

Selected publications

Integration of social cues and individual experiences during instrumental avoidance learning.

Pärnamets, P., & Olsson, A. (2020), PLOS Computational Biology, 16(9), e1008163

Social threat learning transfers to decision making in humans.
Lindström B, Golkar A, Jangard S, Tobler P, Olsson A
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019 Feb;():

Endogenous opioids regulate social threat learning in humans.
Haaker J, Yi J, Petrovic P, Olsson A
Nat Commun 2017 05;8():15495

A common neural network differentially mediates direct and social fear learning.
Lindström B, Haaker J, Olsson A
Neuroimage 2018 02;167():121-129

The interplay of social group biases in social threat learning.
Golkar A, Olsson A
Sci Rep 2017 08;7(1):7685

Assessment of social transmission of threats in humans using observational fear conditioning.
Haaker J, Golkar A, Selbing I, Olsson A
Nat Protoc 2017 Jul;12(7):1378-1386

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

Group members