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Gustav NilsonneForskare

Om mig

Gustav Nilsonne är forskare i neurovetenskap och metavetenskap.

Hans forskning i neurovetenskap handlar om sömn och dygnsrytmer, och om hjärnans kommunikation med immunsystemet.

Hans forskning i metavetenskap handlar om reproducerbarhet och öppenhet inom vetenskapen.

Gustav är docent vid Karolinska Institutet och anknuten forskare till Stanford University.



I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • Uncertain inference in random intercept cross-lagged panel models: An example involving need for cognition and anxiety and depression symptoms

    2023. Kimmo Sorjonen (et al.). Personality and Individual Differences 201


    Using random-intercept cross-lagged panel models (RI-CLPM), researchers have concluded that within-individual need for cognition (WI-NFC) negatively affects subsequent within-individual anxiety and depression symptoms (WI-ADS). However, RI-CLPM may be susceptible to spurious results due to regression to the mean. We investigated the risk of spurious associations by fitting two different RI-CLPM:s and evaluating whether results were consistent. A traditional RI-CLPM, an alternative RI-CLPM where covariance between WI-NFC and WI-ADS at the same wave was replaced by a directional regression effect, as well as a stable trait, autoregressive trait, state (STARTS) model, were fitted to data from a representative community-dwelling Dutch sample. Both the traditional and the alternative RI-CLPM indicated a negative effect of initial WI-NFC on subsequent WI-ADS. However, while the former effect implies a negative association the latter effect implies, contrarily, that an increase in WI-NFC predicted an increase in WI-ADS. The STARTS model indicated strong autoregressive effects but no cross-lagged effects between WI-NFC and WI-ADS. Spurious effects may occur in RI-CLPM due to regression to the mean. Specifically, a cross-lagged effect of WI-NFC on subsequent WI-ADS, demonstrated in earlier research, may be spurious.

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  • A many-analysts approach to the relation between religiosity and well-being

    2022. Suzanne Hoogeveen, Gustav Nilsonne, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers. Religion, Brain & Behavior, 1-47


    The relation between religiosity and well-being is one of the most researched topics in the psychology of religion, yet the directionality and robustness of the effect remains debated. Here, we adopted a many-analysts approach to assess the robustness of this relation based on a new cross-cultural dataset (N=10,535N=10,535 participants from 24 countries). We recruited 120 analysis teams to investigate (1) whether religious people self-report higher well-being, and (2) whether the relation between religiosity and self-reported well-being depends on perceived cultural norms of religion (i.e., whether it is considered normal and desirable to be religious in a given country). In a two-stage procedure, the teams first created an analysis plan and then executed their planned analysis on the data. For the first research question, all but 3 teams reported positive effect sizes with credible/confidence intervals excluding zero (median reported β=0.120β=0.120). For the second research question, this was the case for 65% of the teams (median reported β=0.039β=0.039). While most teams applied (multilevel) linear regression models, there was considerable variability in the choice of items used to construct the independent variables, the dependent variable, and the included covariates.

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  • Curiosity might not help after all: Predicted trajectories for need for cognition and anxiety and depression symptoms based on findings by Zainal and Newman (2022)

    2022. Kimmo Sorjonen (et al.). Journal of Affective Disorders 302, 412-414

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  • DN Debatt: "De utmattade måste få tillgång till rätt vård"

    2022. Christian Rück (et al.). Dagens Nyheter


    Nio forskare: Kunskapsbristerna som fanns vid införandet av diagnosen utmattningssyndrom är fortfarande lika stora. Nya kriterier håller nu på att tas fram utan att de först har utvärderats vetenskapligt.

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  • Discrepancy review: a feasibility study of a novel peer review intervention to reduce undisclosed discrepancies between registrations and publications

    2022. Robert T. Thibault (et al.). Royal Society Open Science 9 (7)


    Undisclosed discrepancies often exist between study registrations and their associated publications. Discrepancies can increase risk of bias, and when undisclosed, they disguise this increased risk of bias from readers. To remedy this issue, we developed an intervention called discrepancy review. We provided journals with peer reviewers specifically assigned to check for undisclosed discrepancies between registrations and manuscripts submitted to journals. We performed discrepancy review on 18 manuscripts submitted to Nicotine and Tobacco Research and three manuscripts submitted to the European Journal of Personality. We iteratively refined the discrepancy review process based on feedback from discrepancy reviewers, editors and authors. Authors addressed the majority of discrepancy reviewer comments, and there was no opposition to running a trial from authors, editors or discrepancy reviewers. Outcome measures for a trial of discrepancy review could include the presence of primary or secondary outcome discrepancies, whether publications that are not the primary report from a clinical trial registration are clearly described as such, whether registrations are permanent, and an overarching subjective assessment of the impact of discrepancies in published articles. We found that discrepancy review could feasibly be introduced as a regular practice at some journals interested in this process. A full trial of discrepancy review would be needed to evaluate its impact on reducing undisclosed discrepancies.

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  • Editors publishing in their own journals: A systematic review of prevalence and a discussion of normative aspects

    2022. Gert Helgesson (et al.). Learned Publishing 35 (2), 229-240


    Journal editors are the main gatekeepers in scientific publishing. Yet there is a concern that they may receive preferential treatment when submitting manuscripts to their own journals. The prevalence of such self-publishing is not known, nor the consequences for reliability and trustworthiness of published research. This study aimed to systematically review the literature on the prevalence of editors publishing in their own journals and to conduct a normative ethical analysis of this practice. A systematic review was performed using the following databases: Medline, PsycInfo, Scopus and Web of Science. Articles that provided primary data about editors publishing in own journals were included. We identified 15 studies meeting inclusion criteria. There was large variability of self-publishing across fields, journals and editors, ranging from those who never published in their own journal to those publishing extensively in their own journal. Many studies suffered from serious methodological limitations. Nevertheless, our results show that there are settings where levels of self-publication are very high. We recommend that editors-in-chief and associate editors who have considerable power in journals refrain from publishing research articles in their own journals. Journals should have clear processes in place about the treatment of articles submitted by editorial board members. 

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  • Exhaustion disorder: scoping review of research on a recently introduced stress-related diagnosis

    2022. Elin Lindsäter (et al.). BJPsych Open 8 (5)



    Symptoms related to chronic stress are prevalent and entail high societal costs, yet there is a lack of international consensus regarding diagnostics and treatment. A new stress-related diagnosis, exhaustion disorder, was introduced into the Swedish version of ICD-10 in 2005. Since then, use of the diagnosis has increased rapidly.


    To create the first comprehensive synthesis of research on exhaustion disorder to report on the current state of knowledge. Preregistration: Open Science Framework (, doi 10.17605/OSF.IO/VFDKW.


    A PRISMA-guided scoping review of all empirical studies of exhaustion disorder was conducted. Searches were run in the MEDLINE, PsycInfo and Web of Science databases. Data were systematically charted and thematically categorised based on primary area of investigation.


    Eighty-nine included studies were sorted into six themes relating to lived experience of exhaustion disorder (n = 9), symptom presentation and course (n = 13), cognitive functioning (n = 10), biological measures (n = 24), symptom measurement scales (n = 4) and treatment (n = 29). Several studies indicated that individuals with exhaustion disorder experience a range of psychiatric and somatic symptoms beyond fatigue, but robust findings within most thematic categories were scarce. The limited number of studies, lack of replication of findings and methodological limitations (e.g. small samples and scarcity of specified primary outcomes) preclude firm conclusions about the diagnostic construct.


    More research is needed to build a solid knowledge base for exhaustion disorder. International collaboration regarding the conceptualisation of chronic stress and fatigue is warranted to accelerate the growth of evidence.

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  • In COVID-19 Health Messaging, Loss Framing Increases Anxiety with Little-to-No Concomitant Benefits: Experimental Evidence from 84 Countries

    2022. Charles A. Dorison (et al.). Affective Science 3 (3), 577-602


    The COVID-19 pandemic (and its aftermath) highlights a critical need to communicate health information effectively to the global public. Given that subtle differences in information framing can have meaningful effects on behavior, behavioral science research highlights a pressing question: Is it more effective to frame COVID-19 health messages in terms of potential losses (e.g., “If you do not practice these steps, you can endanger yourself and others”) or potential gains (e.g., “If you practice these steps, you can protect yourself and others”)? Collecting data in 48 languages from 15,929 participants in 84 countries, we experimentally tested the effects of message framing on COVID-19-related judgments, intentions, and feelings. Loss- (vs. gain-) framed messages increased self-reported anxiety among participants cross-nationally with little-to-no impact on policy attitudes, behavioral intentions, or information seeking relevant to pandemic risks. These results were consistent across 84 countries, three variations of the message framing wording, and 560 data processing and analytic choices. Thus, results provide an empirical answer to a global communication question and highlight the emotional toll of loss-framed messages. Critically, this work demonstrates the importance of considering unintended affective consequences when evaluating nudge-style interventions.

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  • Lord's paradox in latent change score modeling: An example involving facilitating longitudinal effects between intelligence and academic achievement

    2022. Kimmo Sorjonen, Bo Melin, Gustav Nilsonne. Personality and Individual Differences 189


    It has been claimed that intelligence causes academic achievement to increase over time, and that also, conversely, academic achievement causes intelligence to increase over time. This bidirectional facilitating longitudinal effect between intelligence and academic achievement rests on observed associations between initial intelligence and the change in academic achievement between an initial and a subsequent measurement, and vice versa. Here, we demonstrate, through simulating empirical data used in previous research, that such longitudinal associations may be due to regression toward the mean rather than a true facilitating effect. Regression toward the mean occurs due to the conditioning of change on the initial value on the outcome variable. Researchers should be aware of this fallacy and are recommended to verify their findings with analyses without adjustment for an initial value on the outcome.

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  • Planning preclinical confirmatory multicenter trials to strengthen translation from basic to clinical research: a multi-stakeholder workshop report

    2022. Natascha Ingrid Drude (et al.). Translational Medicine Communications 7 (1)


    Clinical translation from bench to bedside often remains challenging even despite promising preclinical evidence. Among many drivers like biological complexity or poorly understood disease pathology, preclinical evidence often lacks desired robustness. Reasons include low sample sizes, selective reporting, publication bias, and consequently inflated effect sizes. In this context, there is growing consensus that confirmatory multicenter studies -by weeding out false positives- represent an important step in strengthening and generating preclinical evidence before moving on to clinical research. However, there is little guidance on what such a preclinical confirmatory study entails and when it should be conducted in the research trajectory. To close this gap, we organized a workshop to bring together statisticians, clinicians, preclinical scientists, and meta-researcher to discuss and develop recommendations that are solution-oriented and feasible for practitioners. Herein, we summarize and review current approaches and outline strategies that provide decision-critical guidance on when to start and subsequently how to plan a confirmatory study. We define a set of minimum criteria and strategies to strengthen validity before engaging in a confirmatory preclinical trial, including sample size considerations that take the inherent uncertainty of initial (exploratory) studies into account. Beyond this specific guidance, we highlight knowledge gaps that require further research and discuss the role of confirmatory studies in translational biomedical research. In conclusion, this workshop report highlights the need for close interaction and open and honest debate between statisticians, preclinical scientists, meta-researchers (that conduct research on research), and clinicians already at an early stage of a given preclinical research trajectory.

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  • Questioning the vulnerability model: Prospective associations between low self-esteem and subsequent depression ratings may be spurious

    2022. Kimmo Sorjonen (et al.). Journal of Affective Disorders 315, 259-266


    Background: According to the vulnerability model, low self-esteem makes people more depressed. Support for the vulnerability model comes almost exclusively from analyses using cross-lagged panel models, showing a negative effect of initial self-esteem on subsequent depression ratings when adjusting for initial depression. However, it is well known that such adjusted effects are susceptible to regression toward the mean.

    Methods: Data from four waves of measurements in five different samples (total N = 2703) were analyzed with two different cross-lagged panel models, two different random intercept cross-lagged panel models, and two different latent change score models, predicting change forwards as well as backwards in time.

    Results: High initial self-esteem predicted both decreased and increased depression ratings between measurements and an increase in self-esteem between measurements predicted a concurrent decrease in depression ratings.

    Limitations: Only data from two western countries, Switzerland and USA, were analyzed. Whether the main finding, that a prospective effect of self-esteem on subsequent depression ratings might be spurious, applies to other countries and cultures remains an open question.

    Conclusions: Due to the incongruent results, any causal effect of self-esteem on depression ratings, and thus the vulnerability model as such, cannot be corroborated by the data and models analyzed here. Instead, we propose, tentatively, that prospective associations between self-esteem and depression ratings may be spurious due to a combination of reasons, including regression toward the mean. The indication that depression might not be affected by measures to improve individuals' self-esteem is of clinical relevance.

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  • Regression to the mean in latent change score models: an example involving breastfeeding and intelligence

    2022. Kimmo Sorjonen (et al.). BMC Pediatrics 22


    Background: Latent change score models are often used to study change over time in observational data. However, latent change score models may be susceptible to regression to the mean. Earlier observational studies have identified a positive association between breastfeeding and child intelligence, even when adjusting for maternal intelligence.

    Method: In the present study, we investigate regression to the mean in the case of breastfeeding and intelligence of children. We used latent change score modeling to analyze intergenerational change in intelligence, both from mothers to children and backward from children to mothers, in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) dataset (N = 6283).

    Results: When analyzing change from mothers to children, breastfeeding was found to have a positive association with intergenerational change in intelligence, whereas when analyzing backward change from children to mothers, a negative association was found.

    Conclusions: These discrepant findings highlight a hidden flexibility in the analytical space and call into question the reliability of earlier studies of breastfeeding and intelligence using observational data. 

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  • Spurious correlations in research on ability tilt

    2022. Kimmo Sorjonen (et al.). Personality and Individual Differences 185


    Ability tilt refers to a within-individual difference between two abilities (X-Y), e.g. differences between tech and verbal or verbal and math abilities. Studies have found associations between ability tilts and their constituent abilities (X or Y). Here we show that such associations may be spurious due to the non-independence of the two measures. Using data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97), we find that associations between ability and ability tilt may simply be due to more positive associations between two measures of the same or similar abilities compared to two measures of different or dissimilar abilities. This finding calls into question theoretical interpretations that have proposed that ability tilt correlations are due to differential investment of time and effort in one ability at the expense of the other ability.

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