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Håkan Fischer, porträtt. Foto: Niklas Björling

Håkan Fischer

Professor, prefekt

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Arbetar vid Psykologiska institutionen
Telefon 08-16 23 57
E-post hakan.fischer@psychology.su.se
Besöksadress Frescati hagväg 14
Rum 320
Postadress Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Sedan 2011 är jag professor i biologisk psykologi och sedan första augusti 2015 även prefekt här vid Psykologiska institutionen. Jag är också docent vid Karolinska Institutet och anknyten till Aging Research Center, Karolinska Institutet.

Jag började göra studier med funktionell hjärnavbildning 1993 och tog min doktorsexamen vid Uppsala Universitet 1998. Titeln på avhandlingen var Imaging fear and anxiety in the human brain. Mellan 1999 och 2001 genomförde jag min postdoktorala utbildning vid Harvard Medical School i Boston, USA. Efter detta fick jag en fyraårig anställning som forskarassistent från Vetenskapsrådet. Denna anställning lades vid Aging Research Center (ARC), Karolinska Institutet, där jag sedan fortsatte att arbeta som senior forskare, och från 2010 som vice sektionschef.

Jag handleder för närvarande sju doktorander. En postdok ingår också i forskargruppen. Sedan 2002 har jag regelbundet fått finansiering som huvudansvarig forskare för olika projekt främst från Vetenskapsrådet, men även från STINT, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, och Konung Gustav V:s and Drottning Victorias Stiftelse.

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Undervisning

Jag har för närvarande bara enstaka föreläsningar på institutionen.

Forskning

Mitt primära forskningsområde är individuella skillnader i den neurobiologiska basen för emotionellt informationsprocessande, med särskild inriktning på åldrande, personlighet och könsskillnader. Aktuella forskningslinjer här är:

  1. the development of Artificial intelligence (AI) that accurately can read and interpret emotional expressions in faces and voices together with researchers at Departments of Psychology at SU and University of Florida, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH) and Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS),
  2. studiet av effekten av sömnbrist på emotionellt processande och dess neurobiologiska bas tillsammans med forskare vid Stressforskningsinstitutet och Karolinska Institutet,
  3. effekten av social stress på unga och äldre vuxna tillsammans med Stressforsningsinstitutet,
  4. effekten av oxytocin på socioemotionellt processande och dess neurobiologiska bas hos yngre och äldre personer tillsammans med forskare vid University of Florida och Göteborgs universitet,
  5. studiet av individuella skillnader i igenkänning av socioemotionell information samt träning av förmågan att detektera socioemotionell information, och slutligen
  6. emotionell reglering med fokus på habituering och extinktion hos yngre och äldre vuxna.

En annan forskningslinje är att studera emotionella processer och den neurala grunden för dessa hos psykiskt störda brottslingar med speciellt fokus på psykopati. Denna forskning gör jag i samarbete med sektionen för rättspsykiatri vid Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Institutionen för Klinisk Neurovetenskap vid Karolinska Institutet, Solna, samt Löwenströmska sjukhuset, Upplands Väsby.

Mitt vetenskapliga arbete har hittills resulterat i drygt 90 vetenskapliga artiklar som publicerats i internationella vetenskapliga tidskrifter. Mina publikationer har citerats mer än 6300 gånger i internationella vetenskapliga tidskrifter och jag har ett h-index på 36 (31 i Scopus) samt ett i10-index på 58. Jag har också tjänstgjort vid ett flertal halvtidskontroller och doktorsavhandlingskommittéer samt varit "reviewer" för ett flertal internationella vetenskapliga tidskrifter

I min forskning använder jag framför allt funktionell magnetresonanstomografi (fMRI), positronemissionstomografi (PET) och functional near-infrared optical brain imaging (FNIRS) för att studera hjärnans funktion, samt strukturell MRI (DTI och perfusion) för att studera hjärnans vit- och gråsubstans. Jag samarbetar både nationellt och internationellt med andra forskare och deltar i pågående projekt i Sverige, Tyskland och USA.

Läs mer om Fischers forskningslabb.

Läs mer på min sida på Research Gate.

Publikationer in press/accepted

Utöver de publicerade artiklarna nedan är följade artiklar under tryckning/accepterade:

1. Syrjänen, E., Liuzza, M.T., Fischer, H., & Olofsson, J.K. (in press). Do valenced odors and trait body odor disgust affect evaluation of emotion in dynamic faces? Perception. 2017 Jan 1:301006617720831. doi: 10.1177/0301006617720831. [Epub ahead of print]

2. Persson, N., Lavebratt, C., Ebner, N.C., & Fischer, H. (in press). Influence of DARPP-32 gene variation on BOLD activation to happy faces. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2017, 1–10. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsx089

3. Lundqvist, D., Svärd, J., Michelgård-Palmquist, Å., Fischer, H., & Svenningsson, P. (in press). Patients with Parkinson’s disease display a dopamine therapy related negative bias and an enlarged range in emotional responses to facial emotional stimuli. Neuropsychology, Jun 5. doi: 10.1037/neu0000371. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Holding, B., Laukka, P., Fischer, H., Bänziger, T., Axelsson, J., & Sundelin, T. (in press). Multimodal emotion recognition is resilient to insufficient sleep: Results from cross-sectional and experimental studies. Sleep.

5. Tamm, S., Nilsonne, G., Schwarz, J., Lamm, C., Kecklund, G., Petrovic, P., Fischer, H., Åkerstedt, T., Lekander, M. (accepted). It hurts me too: An fMRI study on the effects of experimental sleep restriction on empathy for pain in younger and older adults. Scientific Reports

6. Åkerstedt, T., Lekander, M., Nilsonne, G., Tamm, S.,  d’Onofrio, P., Kecklund, G., Fischer, H., Schwarz, J. (accepted). The effect of late night short sleep on polysomnography – the relation to age and gender. Journal of Sleep Research

Publikationer

I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2017. Gustav Nilsonne (et al.). Scientific Reports 7

    Sleep deprivation has been reported to affect intrinsic brain connectivity, notably reducing connectivity in the default mode network. Studies to date have however shown inconsistent effects, in many cases lacked monitoring of wakefulness, and largely included young participants. We investigated effects of sleep deprivation on intrinsic brain connectivity in young and older participants. Participants aged 20–30 (final n = 30) and 65–75 (final n = 23) years underwent partial sleep deprivation (3 h sleep) in a cross-over design, with two 8-minutes eyes-open resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) runs in each session, monitored by eye-tracking. We assessed intrinsic brain connectivity using independent components analysis (ICA) as well as seed-region analyses of functional connectivity, and also analysed global signal variability, regional homogeneity, and the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations. Sleep deprivation caused increased global signal variability. Changes in investigated resting state networks and in regional homogeneity were not statistically significant. Younger participants had higher connectivity in most examined networks, as well as higher regional homogeneity in areas including anterior and posterior cingulate cortex. In conclusion, we found that sleep deprivation caused increased global signal variability, and we speculate that this may be caused by wake-state instability.

  • 2017. Johanna F. A. Schwarz (et al.). Journal of Sleep Research 26 (3), 277-287

    It is well known that the quantity and quality of physiological sleep changes across age. However, so far the effect of age on sleep microstructure has been mostly addressed in small samples. The current study examines the effect of age on several measures of sleep macro- and microstructure in 211 women (22–71 years old) of the ‘Sleep and Health in Women’ study for whom ambulatory polysomnography was registered. Older age was associated with significantly lower fast spindle (effect size f2 = 0.32) and K-complex density (f2 = 0.19) during N2 sleep, as well as slow-wave activity (log) in N3 sleep (f2 = 0.21). Moreover, total sleep time (f2 = 0.10), N3 sleep (min) (f2 = 0.10), rapid eye movement sleep (min) (f2 = 0.11) and sigma (log) (f2 = 0.05) and slow-wave activity (log) during non-rapid eye movement sleep (f2 = 0.09) were reduced, and N1 sleep (f2 = 0.03) was increased in older age. No significant effects of age were observed on slow spindle density, rapid eye movement density and beta power (log) during non-rapid eye movement sleep. In conclusion, effect sizes indicate that traditional sleep stage scoring may underestimate age-related changes in sleep.

  • 2017. Ninni Persson (et al.). Frontiers in Neuroscience 11

    Despite evidence of a fundamental role of DARPP-32 in integrating dopamine and glutamate signaling, studies examining gene coding for DARPP-32 in relation to neural and behavioral cor-relates in humans are scarce. Post mortem findings evidence genotype specific expressions of DARPP-32 in the dorsal frontal lobes. We therefore investigated the effects of genomic variation in DARPP-32 coding on frontal lobe volumes and episodic memory. Volumetric data from the dorsolateral (DLPFC), and visual cortices (VC) were obtained from 61 younger and older adults (♀54%). The major homozygote G, T or A genotypes in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs: rs879606; rs907094; rs3764352), at the DARPP-32 regulating PPP1R1B gene influenced frontal gray matter volume and episodic memory (EM). Homozygous carriers of allelic variants with lower DARPP-32 expression had overall larger prefrontal volumes, in addition to greater EM recall accuracy. The SNPs did not influence VC volume. The genetic effects on DLPFC were greater in younger adults, and selective to this group for EM. Our findings suggest that genomic variation maps on to individual differences in frontal brain volumes, and cognitive functions. Larger DLPFC volumes were also related to better EM performance, suggesting that gene-related differences in frontal gray matter may contribute to individual differences in EM. These results need further replication from experimental and longitudinal reports to determine directions of causality.

  • 2017. Diana S. Cortes (et al.). PLoS ONE 12 (6)

    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.

  • 2016. Maryam Ziaei, Håkan Fischer. Neuroimaging Personality, Social Cognition, and Character, 259-278

    It has been estimated that by 2050, 1.5 billion people will be aged 65 or older, representing 16 percent of the world’s population. Hence, gaining a more complete understanding of the psychological changes that occur with normal adult aging could provide valuable insights into long-term planning for health, work policies, and opportunities for engaging and collaborating with older adults. Although aging is associated with cognitive deficits, and these are associated with some functional costs, this does not provide a complete picture of the psychological changes that occur with aging. In particular, increasing evidence from the emotional aging literature offers a different perspective on how we age. Recent discoveries in functional neuroimaging also provide important insights into how the brain functions during various cognitive and emotional tasks as we age, granting a more comprehensive view of the aging brain. The primary focus of this chapter is to provide an overview of multidisciplinary evidence from both behavioral and neuroimaging studies in the emotional aging literature. The chapter is organized based on the impact of age-related changes in emotional processing on three main categories of cognitive function: attention, memory, and face recognition.Before discussing the main findings from each of these three categories, some of the major discoveries and dominant models in the cognitive aging domain will be discussed briefly. Throughout this chapter, several questions are addressed: what are the underlying cognitive and neural mechanisms of the attentional biases toward positive items in aging? Do older adults have difficulties in processing negative emotions or do they process positive emotions differently than younger adults? What factors influence the processing of emotional facial expressions in late adulthood? Do the temporal features of stimuli help older adults overcome difficulties in recognizing emotions? Are there any age differences in processing the six main emotions expressed by the face?

  • 2016. Natalie C. Ebner (et al.). Psychoneuroendocrinology 69, 50-59

    The neuropeptide oxytocin plays a role in social cognition and affective processing. The neural processes underlying these effects are not well understood. Modulation of connectivity strength between subcortical and cortical regions has been suggested as one possible mechanism. The current study investigated effects of intranasal oxytocin administration on resting-state functional connectivity between amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), as two regions involved in social-cognitive and affective processing. Going beyond previous work that largely examined young male participants, our study comprised young and older men and women to identify age and sex variations in oxytocin’s central processes. This approach was based on known hormonal differences among these groups and emerging evidence of sex differences in oxytocin’s effects on amygdala reactivity and age-by-sex-modulated effects of oxytocin in affective processing. In a double-blind design, 79 participants were randomly assigned to self-administer either intranasal oxytocin or placebo before undergoing resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging. Using a targeted region-to-region approach, resting-state functional connectivity strength between bilateral amygdala and mPFC was examined. Participants in the oxytocin compared to the placebo group and men compared to women had overall greater amygdala–mPFC connectivity strength at rest. These main effects were qualified by a significant three-way interaction: while oxytocin compared to placebo administration increased resting-state amygdala–mPFC connectivity for young women, oxytocin did not significantly influence connectivity in the other age-by-sex subgroups. This study provides novel evidence of age-by-sex differences in how oxytocin modulates resting-state brain connectivity, furthering our understanding of how oxytocin affects brain networks at rest.

  • 2016. Ninni Persson (et al.). Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 8

    We investigated whether a physiological marker of cardiovascular health, pulse pressure (PP), and age magnified the effect of the functional COMT Val158Met (rs4680) polymorphism on 15-years cognitive trajectories [episodic memory (EM), visuospatial ability, and semantic memory] using data from 1585 non-demented adults from the Betula study. A multiple-group latent growth curve model was specified to gauge individual differences in change, and average trends therein. The allelic variants showed negligible differences across the cognitive markers in average trends. The older portion of the sample selectively age-magnified the effects of Val158Met on EM changes, resulting in greater decline in Val compared to homozygote Met carriers. This effect was attenuated by statistical control for PP. Further, PP moderated the effects of COMT on 15-years EM trajectories, resulting in greater decline in Val carriers, even after accounting for the confounding effects of sex, education, cardiovascular diseases (diabetes, stroke, and hypertension), and chronological age, controlled for practice gains. The effect was still present after excluding individuals with a history of cardiovascular diseases. The effects of cognitive change were not moderated by any other covariates. This report underscores the importance of addressing synergistic effects in normal cognitive aging, as the addition thereof may place healthy individuals at greater risk for memory decline.

  • 2016. Sarah M. Szymkowicz (et al.). Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 8

    Quick correct identification of facial emotions is highly relevant for successful social interactions. Research suggests that older, compared to young, adults experience increased difficulty with face and emotion processing skills. While functional neuroimaging studies suggest age differences in neural processing of faces and emotions, evidence about age-associated structural brain changes and their involvement in face and emotion processing is scarce. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), this study investigated the extent to which volumes of frontal and temporal brain structures were related to reaction time in accurate identification of facial emotions in 30 young and 30 older adults. Volumetric segmentation was performed using FreeSurfer and gray matter volumes from frontal and temporal regions were extracted. Analysis of covariances (ANCOVAs) models with response time (RT) as the dependent variable and age group and regional volume, and their interaction, as independent variables were conducted, controlling for total intracranial volume (ICV). Results indicated that, in older adults, larger hippocampal volumes were associated with faster correct facial emotion identification. These preliminary observations suggest that greater volume in brain regions associated with face and emotion processing contributes to improved facial emotion identification performance in aging.

  • 2016. Karolina Sörman (et al.). PLoS ONE 11 (6)

    Cross-cultural investigation of psychopathy measures is important for clarifying the nomological network surrounding the psychopathy construct. The Psychopathic Personality Inventory-Revised (PPI-R) is one of the most extensively researched self-report measures of psychopathic traits in adults. To date however, it has been examined primarily in North American criminal or student samples. To address this gap in the literature, we examined PPI-R’s reliability, construct validity and factor structure in non-criminal individuals (N = 227) in Sweden, using a multimethod approach including psychophysiological correlates of empathy for pain. PPI-R construct validity was investigated in subgroups of participants by exploring its degree of overlap with (i) the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version (PCL:SV), (ii) self-rated empathy and behavioral and physiological responses in an experiment on empathy for pain, and (iii) additional self-report measures of alexithymia and trait anxiety. The PPI-R total score was significantly associated with PCL:SV total and factor scores. The PPI-R Coldheartedness scale demonstrated significant negative associations with all empathy subscales and with rated unpleasantness and skin conductance responses in the empathy experiment. The PPI-R higher order Self-Centered Impulsivity and Fearless Dominance dimensions were associated with trait anxiety in opposite directions (positively and negatively, respectively). Overall, the results demonstrated solid reliability (test-retest and internal consistency) and promising but somewhat mixed construct validity for the Swedish translation of the PPI-R.

  • 2016. Tomas Furmark (et al.). Journal of Psychopharmacology 30 (10), 1028-1035

    It is disputed whether anxiety disorders, like social anxiety disorder, are characterized by serotonin over- or underactivity. Here, we evaluated whether our recent finding of elevated neural serotonin synthesis rate in patients with social anxiety disorder could be reproduced in a separate cohort, and whether allelic variation in the tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH2) G-703T polymorphism relates to differences in serotonin synthesis assessed with positron emission tomography. Eighteen social anxiety disorder patients and six healthy controls were scanned during 60 minutes in a resting state using positron emission tomography and 5-hydroxy-L-[β -11C]tryptophan, [11C]5-HTP, a substrate of the second enzymatic step in serotonin synthesis. Parametric images were generated, using the reference Patlak method, and analysed using Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM8). Blood samples for genotyping of the TPH2 G-703T polymorphism were obtained from 16 social anxiety disorder patients (T carriers: n=5, GG carriers: n=11). A significantly elevated [11C]5-HTP accumulation rate, indicative of enhanced decarboxylase activity and thereby serotonin synthesis capacity, was detected in social anxiety disorder patients compared with controls in the hippocampus and basal ganglia nuclei and, at a more lenient (uncorrected) statistical threshold, in the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex. In patients, the serotonin synthesis rate in the amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex was significantly elevated in TPH2 T carriers in comparison with GG homozygotes. Our results support that social anxiety disorder entails an overactive presynaptic serotonergic system that, in turn, seems functionally influenced by the TPH2 G-703T polymorphism in emotionally relevant brain regions.

Visa alla publikationer av Håkan Fischer vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 18 september 2017

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