Elmeri Syrjänen, porträtt. Foto: Niklas Björling.

Elmeri Syrjänen


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Works at Department of Psychology
Telephone 08-16 48 04
Visiting address Frescati hagväg 9A
Room 213
Postal address Psykologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

My main research interest revolve within affective neuroscience. I'm also interested in perception and psychophysiological phenomens. In my research I mainly use pictures and odors to elicit emotional responses. To measure these reponses I use mainly EEG but also behavioral measures such as various reatings and reaction times. I also teach at the under graduate level, mainly perception and statistics. 


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Elmeri Syrjänen (et al.). Perception

    Disgust is a core emotion evolved to detect and avoid the ingestion of poisonous food as well as the contact with pathogens and other harmful agents. Previous research has shown that multisensory presentation of olfactory and visual information may strengthen the processing of disgust-relevant information. However, it is not known whether these findings extend to dynamic facial stimuli that changes from neutral to emotionally expressive, or if individual differences in trait body odor disgust may influence the processing of disgust-related information. In this preregistered study, we tested whether a classification of dynamic facial expressions as happy or disgusted, and an emotional evaluation of these facial expressions, would be affected by individual differences in body odor disgust sensitivity, and by exposure to a sweat-like, negatively valenced odor (valeric acid), as compared with a soap-like, positively valenced odor (lilac essence) or a no-odor control. Using Bayesian hypothesis testing, we found evidence that odors do not affect recognition of emotion in dynamic faces even when body odor disgust sensitivity was used as moderator. However, an exploratory analysis suggested that an unpleasant odor context may cause faster RTs for faces, independent of their emotional expression. Our results further our understanding of the scope and limits of odor effects on facial perception affect and suggest further studies should focus on reproducibility, specifying experimental circumstances where odor effects on facial expressions may be present versus absent.

  • 2013. Stefan Wiens, Elmeri Syrjänen. Biological Psychology 94 (1), 44-54

    Emotional stimuli tend to capture attention, and this so-called motivated attention is commonly measured using the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP). We hypothesized that voluntary, directed attention reduces motivated attention more strongly for highly than moderately arousing pleasant or unpleasant pictures. Participants were instructed to direct their attention to either a picture at fixation or the letters flanking the picture. Pictures varied substantially in arousal and valence. When the pictures were attended to, EPN and LPP increased linearly with arousal. When the letters were attended to, these linear effects decreased in the EPN for pleasant and unpleasant pictures and in the LPP for pleasant pictures. Thus, directed attention decreases processing of emotional distracters more strongly for highly than moderately arousing pleasant and unpleasant pictures. These results are consistent with the view that directed attention decreases emotion effects on sensory gain.

  • 2013. Elmeri Syrjanen, Stefan Wiens. Neuroscience Letters 551, 89-93

    Attention is captured more strongly by emotional pictures than by neutral pictures. This allocation of attention to emotional pictures is commonly indexed by the late positive potential (LPP). This event-related potential (ERP) is larger for negative and positive pictures than for neutral pictures. However, findings are mixed in regards to valence effects, that is, whether the LPP is larger for negative pictures than for positive pictures (negativity bias) or vice versa (positivity bias). Additionally, previous ERP studies have not explicitly considered a moderating effect of gender. In the present study, positive, negative, and neutral pictures were shown at fixation but were always task-irrelevant. Results showed that LPP amplitudes for the positive and negative distracters were moderated by gender. Men showed a positivity bias on the LPP (i.e., larger amplitudes for positive pictures than for negative pictures). Women did not show a clear valence bias on the LPP, but they showed a negativity bias on picture ratings. These gender differences for the LPP did not habituate, as they were obtained even for pictures that were repeated 20 times. Because previous studies with other measures suggest a positivity bias for men and a negativity bias for women, the present findings extend these studies suggesting that attention allocation for emotional pictures of different valence is similarly moderated by gender.

Show all publications by Elmeri Syrjänen at Stockholm University

Last updated: February 22, 2018

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