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  • 1.
    Cortes, Diana
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Asperholm, Martin
    Fredborg, William
    Döllinger, Lillian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Xiao, Shanshan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Högman, Lennart
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Dang, Junhua
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Intranasal Oxytocin and Response Inhibition in Young and Older Adults2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In normal aging, people are confronted with impairment in both socioemotional and cognitive abilities. Specifically, there are age-related declines in inhibitory processes that regulate attention towards irrelevant material. In last years, the intranasal administration of the neuropeptide oxytocin has mainly been related to improvements in several domains such as emotion recognition and memory, but to date the effects of oxytocin in aging remain largely unknown. In a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, within-subjects study design, we investigated whether oxytocin facilitates inhibitory processing in older adults compared to younger adults. In total, 41 older adults (51% women; age range 65-75 years) and 37 younger adults (49% women; age range 20-30 years) participated in this study two times, receiving a single intranasal dose of 40 IU of placebo and oxytocin in randomized order 45 minutes before engaging in the task. Participants were tested approximately a month apart and mostly at the same hour during both occasions. Inhibition was measured with a Go/NoGo task which included happy and neutral faces as targets (Go stimuli) and distractors (NoGo stimuli) shown on a computer screen. Participants were instructed to press a button any time they saw a target and remain passive when encountering a distractor. Preliminary results indicate effects for happy and neutral faces, but only in the distractor condition. For happy distractors, women rejected correctly happy faces more accurately than men did, both in the placebo and oxytocin conditions. A main effect of age was observed for the neutral distractors, where older adults were more successful in inhibiting responses than younger adults during oxytocin and placebo treatments. We did not observe effects of oxytocin in the different tasks. The role of oxytocin was not clear distinguished in the tasks. In sum, our findings showed that age and gender can influence inhibition but their effects depend on the displayed emotions. This suggests that the ability to inhibit interfering distractors may remain intact despite of age and that deficits in inhibition may be selective. The role of oxytocin in inhibition needs to be further investigated since it is possible that it is context dependent.

  • 2.
    Cortes, Diana
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Age differences in judgments of attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness of faces2016In: Program of SANS 2016, 2016, p. 58-58, article id B-23Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    People constantly evaluate faces to obtain social information. However, the link between aging and social evaluation of faces is not well understood. Todorov and colleagues introduced a data-driven model defined by valence and dominance as the two main components underlying social judgments of faces. They also created a stimulus set consisting of computer-generated faces which systematically vary along various social dimensions (e.g., Todorov et al., 2013, Emotion, 13, 724-38). We utilized a selection of these facial stimuli to investigate age-related differences in judgments of the following dimensions: attractiveness, competence, dominance, extraversion, likeability, threat, and trustworthiness. Participants rated how well the faces represented the intended social dimensions on 9-point scales ranging from not at all to extremely well. Results from 71 younger (YA; mean age = 23.42 years) and 60 older adults (OA; mean age = 69.19 years) showed that OA evaluated untrustworthy faces as more trustworthy, dislikeable faces as more likeable, and unattractive faces as more attractive compared to YA. OA also evaluated attractive faces as more attractive compared to YA, whereas YA did rate likeable and trustworthy faces as more likeable and trustworthy than did OA. In summary, our findings showed that OA evaluated negative social features less negatively compared to YA. This suggests that older and younger persons may use different cues for social evaluation of faces, and is in line with prior research suggesting age-related decline in the ability to recognize negative emotion expressions.

  • 3.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Ebner, Natalie C.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Age-Related Differences in Evaluation of Social Attributes From Computer-Generated Faces of Varying Intensity2019In: Psychology and Aging, ISSN 0882-7974, E-ISSN 1939-1498, Vol. 34, no 5, p. 686-697Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In everyday life throughout the life span, people frequently evaluate faces to obtain information crucial for social interactions. We investigated age-related differences in judgments of a wide range of social attributes based on facial appearance. Seventy-one younger and 60 older participants rated 196 computer-generated faces that systematically varied in facial features such as shape and reflectance to convey different intensity levels of seven social attributes (i.e., attractiveness, competence, dominance, extraversion, likeability, threat, and trustworthiness). Older compared to younger participants consistently gave higher attractiveness ratings to faces representing both high and low levels of attractiveness. Older participants were also less sensitive to the likeability of faces and tended to evaluate faces representing low likeability as more likable. The age groups did, however, not differ substantially in their evaluations of the other social attributes. Results are in line with previous research showing that aging is associated with preference toward positive and away from negative information and extend this positivity effect to social perception of faces.

  • 4.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Lindahl, Christina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Memory for faces and voices varies as a function of sex and expressed emotion2017In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 12, no 6, article id e0178423Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    We investigated how memory for faces and voices (presented separately and in combination) varies as a function of sex and emotional expression (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and neutral). At encoding, participants judged the expressed emotion of items in forced-choice tasks, followed by incidental Remember/Know recognition tasks. Results from 600 participants showed that accuracy (hits minus false alarms) was consistently higher for neutral compared to emotional items, whereas accuracy for specific emotions varied across the presentation modalities (i.e., faces, voices, and face-voice combinations). For the subjective sense of recollection (“remember” hits), neutral items received the highest hit rates only for faces, whereas for voices and face-voice combinations anger and fear expressions instead received the highest recollection rates. We also observed better accuracy for items by female expressers, and own-sex bias where female participants displayed memory advantage for female faces and face-voice combinations. Results further suggest that own-sex bias can be explained by recollection, rather than familiarity, rates. Overall, results show that memory for faces and voices may be influenced by the expressions that they carry, as well as by the sex of both items and participants. Emotion expressions may also enhance the subjective sense of recollection without enhancing memory accuracy.

  • 5.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Månsson, Kristoffer
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Oxytocin Induces Brain Activity Reductions to Negative Emotional Stimuli in Younger and Older Adults2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In recent years, the intranasal administration of the neuropeptide oxytocin has mainly been related to improvements in domains such as emotion recognition and memory, but to date the effects of oxytocin in aging remain largely unknown. A major caveat in oxytocin research is that it is almost exclusively based on young men which may reflect an inadequate picture of the potential benefits of oxytocin administration. In a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled, within-subjects study design, we investigated whether oxytocin affects the recognition of positive and negative stimuli differently in younger and older adults. Forty-four older adults (50% women; M= 69.82) and 44 younger adults (50% women; M= 24.75) participated in this study two times, receiving a single intranasal dose of 40 IUs of placebo and oxytocin in randomized order 40 minutes before engaging in the task. Participants watched short videoclips where actors displayed nine emotions: neutrality, happiness, pride, interest, relief, anger, despair, sadness, and disgust. Preliminary results indicate that oxytocin-induced reductions to negative emotions were found in bilateral fusiform gyrus (Z > 4.16, Family wise error corrected, pFWE < 0.009), hippocampus (Z > 4.53, pFWE < 0.002), insula (Z > 3.69, pFWE < 0.045), and superior temporal gyrus (Z > 4.34, pFWE < 0.008), as well as, right-lateralized reductions in the amygdala (Z = 3.73, pFWE = 0.005). These findings are in line with previous studies showing decreased brain activity to negative stimuli and suggest that this mechanism in not only present in younger adults but it can also be extended to an older population. Future studies should investigate how oxytocin impacts socioemotional and cognitive processes in elderly.

  • 6.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Månsson, Kristoffer N.T.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Manzouri, Amirhossein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Ebner, Natalie
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Increased dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activity to negative emotion displays in men but not in women2019In: Program: ISRE 2019 Amsterdam, 2019, article id 18Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a prominentrole in social and emotional cognition. Findings suggest that exogenous intranasal oxytocin administration facilitates emotion recognition in humans, but individual and contextual differences may have moderating effects. A major caveat in this line of work is that it is predominantly based on young males, which limits current knowledge and potential for generalizability across gender. To uncover potential gender effects, the present study included younger and older men and women. Utilizing a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects study design, we investigated the effects of a single-dose of 40 IUs intranasal oxytocin administration on emotion recognition of dynamic positive and negative stimuli in 32 men (mean age 45.78, sd. 22.87) and 39 women (mean 47.87, sd. 47.87), 40 minutes prior to MRI scanning. Preliminary analyses show that oxytocin induced brain activity reductions during exposure to negative (relative to positive) stimuli in women, while increasing brain activity in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in men. We speculate that the effects of oxytocin on emotion recognition may possibly be related to emotion regulation and mentalization processes, and that oxytocin is related to potential sex-differences in these processes. The results also raise concern that previous oxytocin literature on emotion recognition may be biased as there appears to be gender-differential effects of oxytocin on brain activity across adulthood that have been underestimated. In the next stage of the present study, we will investigate the interaction effects among treatment, sex, age, and presentation modality.

  • 7.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Skragge, Michael
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Döllinger, Lillian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Nilsson, Mats E.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Hovey, Daniel
    Westberg, Lars
    Larsson, Marcus
    Granqvist, Pehr
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology.
    Mixed support for a causal link between single dose intranasal oxytocin and spiritual experiences: opposing effects depending on individual proclivities for absorption2018In: Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, ISSN 1749-5016, E-ISSN 1749-5024, Vol. 13, no 9, p. 921-932Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Intranasal oxytocin (OT) has previously been found to increase spirituality, an effect moderated by OT-related genotypes. This pre-registered study sought to conceptually replicate and extend those findings. Using a single dose of intranasal OT vs placebo (PL), we investigated experimental treatment effects, and moderation by OT-related genotypes on spirituality, mystical experiences, and the sensed presence of a sentient being. A more exploratory aim was to test for interactions between treatment and the personality disposition absorption on these spirituality-related outcomes. A priming plus sensory deprivation procedure that has facilitated spiritual experiences in previous studies was used. The sample (N = 116) contained both sexes and was drawn from a relatively secular context. Results failed to conceptually replicate both the main effects of treatment and the treatment by genotype interactions on spirituality. Similarly, there were no such effects on mystical experiences or sensed presence. However, the data suggested an interaction between treatment and absorption. Relative to PL, OT seemed to enhance spiritual experiences in participants scoring low in absorption and dampen spirituality in participants scoring high in absorption.

  • 8.
    Döllinger, Lillian
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Bänziger, Tanja
    Högman, Lennart
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Makower, Irena
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Hau, Stephan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Improving psychotherapeutic competencies using socioemotional perceptual training procedures 2016Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 9.
    Döllinger, Lillian
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Högman, Lennart
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Bänziger, Tanja
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Makower, Irena
    Magnusson, Tova
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Spejare, Amanda
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Månsson, Kristoffer N.T.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Manzouri, Amirhossein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Hau, Stephan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Effectively training emotion recognition accuracy: The evaluation of two systematic training programs2019Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This study presents findings about the effectiveness of two computerized training-programs for emotion recognition accuracy that were evaluated in a double-blind randomized controlled study with repeated measures design. Both trainings are effective in training emotion recognition accuracy. The trainings and results are presented in detail and practical implications are discussed.

  • 10.
    Fischer, Håkan
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Cortes, Diana S
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Månsson, Kristoffer N.T.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Manzouri, Amirhossein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Ebner, Natalie C.
    Divergent effects of oxytocin in men and women: Increased dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activity to negative emotion displays in men but not in women2019Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a prominent role in social and emotional cognition. Findings suggest that intranasal oxytocin administration facilitates emotion recognition in humans, but individual and contextual differences may have moderating effects. A major caveat in this line of work is its predominant focus on young males, which limits current knowledge and generalizability across gender. To uncover potential gender effects, the present study included 32 men (mean age 45.78, sd. 22.87) and 39 women (mean 47.87, sd. 22.59). Utilizing a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects design, participants self-administered a single-dose of 40 IUs intranasal oxytocin 40 minutes prior to completion of a dynamic emotion recognition task in the MRI scanning. The task paradigm used positive and negative stimuli from the Geneva Multimodal Emotion Portrayals Core Set. Preliminary analyses show that oxytocin induced dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) activity reductions during exposure to negative (relative to positive) stimuli in women, while dmPCF activity was increased under this condition in men. We observed no effect of sex in the behavioral data, however, the results show a similar trend as in brain data. We speculate that the effects of oxytocin on brain activity during emotion recognition may be related to emotion-regulatory and mentalization processes. The observed gender-differential modulatory role of oxytocin raises concern of a bias in the previous oxytocin literature on emotion recognition and associated brain activity by neglecting women in the examination. Next, we will determine the role of age effects on gender-bytreatment interactions, as well as consider modality of the emotion stimulus presentation.  

  • 11. Henningsson, Susanne
    et al.
    Zettergren, Anna
    Hovey, Daniel
    Jonsson, Lina
    Svärd, Joakim
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Melke, Jonas
    Ebner, Natalie C.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
    Westberg, Lars
    Association between polymorphisms in NOS3 and KCNH2 and social memory2015In: Frontiers in Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-4548, E-ISSN 1662-453X, Vol. 9, article id 393Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Social memory, including the ability to recognize faces and voices, is essential for social relationships. It has a large heritable component, but the knowledge about the contributing genes is sparse. The genetic variation underlying inter-individual differences in social memory was investigated in an exploratory sample (n = 55), genotyped with a chip comprising approximately 200,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and in a validation sample (n = 582), where 30 SNPs were targeted. In the exploratory study face identity recognition was measured. The validation study also measured vocal sound recognition, as well as recognition of faces and vocal sounds combined (multimodal condition). In the exploratory study, the 30 SNPs that were associated with face recognition at puncorrected < 0.001 and located in genes, were chosen for further study. In the validation study two of these SNPs showed significant associations with recognition of faces, vocal sounds, and multimodal stimuli: rs1800779 in the gene encoding nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3) and rs3807370 in the gene encoding the voltage-gated channel, subfamily H, member 2 (KCNH2), in strong linkage disequilibrium with each other. The uncommon alleles were associated with superior performance, and the effects were present for men only (p < 0.0002). The exploratory study also showed a weaker but significant association with (non-emotional) word recognition, an effect that was independent of the effect on face recognition. This study demonstrates evidence for an association between NOS3 and KCNH2SNPs and social memory.

  • 12. Hovey, Daniel
    et al.
    Henningsson, Susanne
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Bänziger, Tanja
    Zettergren, Anna
    Melke, Jonas
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Westberg, Lars
    Emotion recognition associated with polymorphism in oxytocinergic pathway gene ARNT22018In: Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, ISSN 1749-5016, E-ISSN 1749-5024, Vol. 13, no 2, p. 173-181Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The ability to correctly understand the emotional expression of another person is essential for social relationships and appears to be a partly inherited trait. The neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin have been shown to influence this ability as well as face processing in humans. Here, recognition of the emotional content of faces and voices, separately and combined, was investigated in 492 subjects, genotyped for 25 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in eight genes encoding proteins important for oxytocin and vasopressin neurotransmission. The SNP rs4778599 in the gene encoding aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator 2 (ARNT2), a transcription factor that participates in the development of hypothalamic oxytocin and vasopressin neurons, showed an association that survived correction for multiple testing with emotion recognition of audio–visual stimuli in women (n = 309). This study demonstrates evidence for an association that further expands previous findings of oxytocin and vasopressin involvement in emotion recognition.

  • 13. Karlsson, Sara
    et al.
    Henningsson, Susanne
    Hovey, Daniel
    Zettergren, Anna
    Jonsson, Lina
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Melke, Jonas
    Laukka, Petri
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Westberg, Lars
    Social memory associated with estrogen receptor polymorphisms in women2016In: Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, ISSN 1749-5016, E-ISSN 1749-5024, Vol. 11, no 6, p. 877-883Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The ability to recognize the identity of faces and voices is essential for social relationships. Although the heritability of social memory is high, knowledge about the contributing genes is sparse. Since sex differences and rodent studies support an influence of estrogens and androgens on social memory, polymorphisms in the estrogen and androgen receptor genes (ESR1, ESR2, AR) are candidates for this trait. Recognition of faces and vocal sounds, separately and combined, was investigated in 490 subjects, genotyped for 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ESR1, four in ESR2 and one in the AR. Four of the associations survived correction for multiple testing: women carrying rare alleles of the three ESR2 SNPs, rs928554, rs1271572 and rs1256030, in linkage disequilibrium with each other, displayed superior face recognition compared with non-carriers. Furthermore, the uncommon genotype of the ESR1 SNP rs2504063 was associated with better recognition of identity through vocal sounds, also specifically in women. This study demonstrates evidence for associations in women between face recognition and variation in ESR2, and recognition of identity through vocal sounds and variation in ESR1. These results suggest that estrogen receptors may regulate social memory function in humans, in line with what has previously been established in mice.

  • 14.
    Laukka, Petri
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
    Månsson, Kristoffer N.T.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Manzouri, Amirhossein
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Neural correlates of individual differences in emotion recognition ability: an fMRI study2019Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The ability to understand how others are feeling is important for social interaction. Studies have reported large inter-individual variability in emotion recognition ability (ERA) in the general population, but the causes for such differences are not well understood. This study investigated neural response during emotion recognition in individuals with high and low ERA. Forty-nine young adults were selected for inclusion based on their performance during previous testing of ERA (e.g., Hovey et al., 2018, Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 13, 173-181). Neural response was determined using the blood-oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal in a 3-Tesla functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiment. The participants were asked to judge which emotions (anger, fear, disgust, happiness, interest, pride, relief, sadness, and neutral expression) were demonstrated in brief clips (i.e. audio-only, video-only, and multimodal audio- video) using a forced-choice response format. Stimuli were taken from the GEMEP emotion portrayal database (Bänziger et al., 2009, Emotion, 9, 691-704). In neural response to emotional stimuli, individuals with high ERA, relative to low ERA, showed higher activation bilaterally in the supplementary motor area, and in the left postcentral gyrus. Results provide initial evidence that the ability to effectively recognize the emotions of others is related to motor and somatosensory neural responses. We speculate that these neural responses in individuals with improved skills in emotion recognition could be related to increased embodiment of emotion expressions during emotion perception.

  • 15.
    Månsson, Kristoffer
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Cortes, Diana
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Lin, Tian
    Horta, Marilyn
    Frazier, Ian
    Lussier, Desiree
    Feifel, David
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Ebner, Natalie
    Neuroplasticity after acute and repeated exposure to oxytocin: a multi-site MRI analysis2018Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Introduction: The hormone and neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) is suggested to be a crucial chemical modulator of social behavior, and exogenous intranasal oxytocin administration has been proposed as a potential treatment for affective and social deficits. Animal studies have found that repeated administration of OT induced cellular changes in the brain, particularly in the hippocampus complex (Sanchez-Vidana et al., 2016). To test this modulatory role of OT on brain structure in humans, we pooled data from three independent double-blind placebo-controlled OT studies that included structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), one study with repeated doses over time (repeated) and two studies with single dose (acute) oxytocin administration.

    Methods: The first analytic step included data from 25 older individuals (61-84y) who were exposed to four weeks of intranasal (24 IUs twice a day) administration of OT or placebo (P) and who underwent 3T-MRI before and after this intervention. The second analytic step included data from a total of 191 younger (18-31y) and older (63-81y) individuals from two similar studies administering a single-dose of OT (24 and 40 IUs respectively) and a single 3T-MRI session (scanning was performed about 40 minutes after the OT or P administration). Grey matter (GM) volume was assessed on T1-weighted anatomical images using automated tools (i.e., CAT12/SPM12). We applied total intracranial volume, sex, and education as covariates of no interest and hippocampus voxel-wise analyses were small volume corrected with a family-wise error (FWE) to determine statistical significance. A portion of the analyses were performed blindly, i.e., the researchers were not aware of the assigned group labels (OT vs. P).

    Results: First, a group x time interaction (xyz[–16,–10,–22], Z=4.40, pFWE=.005) suggested that repeated administration of OT in older adults showed no significant change in left hippocampal GM volume (trend toward increase), whereas the P group showed significant reduction in left hippocampal GM volume over time. Second, the acute effect of a single dose of OT showed reduction in left hippocampal GM volume after OT relative to P administration (xyz[–22,–12,–22], Z=2.96, pFWE=.023), i.e. the acute findings were reversed within the same hippocampal region compared to the findings after repeated administration.

    Conclusions: These results provide first evidence of an opposite effect in hippocampus GM volume after acute and repeated administration of OT. This points towards a potential mechanism wherein hippocampal GM volume shows rapid reduction after a single dose, but stable (and potentially greater) GM volume after repeated exposure to OT. Thus, hippocampus may be a key target of OT's modulatory potential on the human brain. Future studies should assess both acute and long-lasting effects of OT administration on brain structures and links to behavior, affect, and quality of life. This approach could advance our understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms of OT as a potential treatment for affective and social deficits.

  • 16.
    Månsson, Kristoffer N. T.
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Cortes, Diana S.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Manzouri, Amir
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Li, Tie-Qiang
    Hau, Stephan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Fischer, Håkan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Biological psychology.
    Viewing Pictures Triggers Rapid Morphological Enlargement in the Human Visual Cortex2019In: Cerebral Cortex, ISSN 1047-3211, E-ISSN 1460-2199Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Measuring brain morphology with non-invasive structural magnetic resonance imaging is common practice, and can be used to investigate neuroplasticity. Brain morphology changes have been reported over the course of weeks, days, and hours in both animals and humans. If such short-term changes occur even faster, rapid morphological changes while being scanned could have important implications. In a randomized within-subject study on 47 healthy individuals, two high-resolution T1-weighted anatomical images were acquired (á 263 s) per individual. The images were acquired during passive viewing of pictures or a fixation cross. Two common pipelines for analyzing brain images were used: voxel-based morphometry on gray matter (GM) volume and surface-based cortical thickness. We found that the measures of both GM volume and cortical thickness showed increases in the visual cortex while viewing pictures relative to a fixation cross. The increase was distributed across the two hemispheres and significant at a corrected level. Thus, brain morphology enlargements were detected in less than 263 s. Neuroplasticity is a far more dynamic process than previously shown, suggesting that individuals’ current mental state affects indices of brain morphology. This needs to be taken into account in future morphology studies and in everyday clinical practice.

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