The research group is lead by professor Niklas Ravaja and currently consists of two postdoctoral researchers, Michiel Spapé and Ville Harjunen, and one Ph.D. candidate, Petja Sjö.
Niklas Ravaja

Niklas Ravaja is a Professor of eHealth and well-being and is heading the Emotional Interaction and eHealth research group. He is specialized in the research on emotional, motivational, and cognitive processes associated with the use of eHealth applications and systems. His interests include mediated and non-mediated social interaction, the interaction of humans with ICT, including VR and other media, and affective and neuro-/psychophysiological processes during mediated social interaction and technology use.

Niklas Ravaja Researchportal profile

Michiel Spapé

Michiel Spape is a senior researcher at the Department of Psychology and Logopedics. His research generally concerns cognition and affective neuroscience. After obtaining his PhD at the University of Leiden (Netherlands), he has held postdoctoral research positions at the University of Nottingham (UK) and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (Aalto / Helsinki University), as well as a lecturer position at Liverpool Hope University (UK).

In his work, he has investigated a variety of subjects by combining the research themes of perception/action integration, cognitive control, and social-emotion perception, studying these with classic behavioural methods and neuroimaging techniques. By exploring the interplay between these normally isolated fields of research, he has shown the critical integration of cognitive functions, for example by showing how memory accounts for executive control, how intentions affect perception, and how emotions affect the experience of touch, publishing around 50 articles on the topic.

Recently, he is preoccupied with the question of how actions and intentions affect the perception of time, investigating the matter with reaction experiments and EEG studies. He furthermore spends much time in ongoing collaborations with the Helsinki University Department of Computer Science on interdisciplinary (psychophysiology/machine-learning) studies of intention and mental imagery. 

Michiel Spapé Researchportal profile

Ville J Harjunen

Ville J Harjunen is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology and Logopedics at the University of Helsinki, working in the Emotional Interaction and eHealth – research group. Harjunen's research concerns the psychophysiology of emotions, nonverbal communication, and social decision-making.

After earning a Doctor’s degree in psychology, Harjunen has focused on the neural processes of emotions, empathy, and the perception of time. His Ph.D. research concerned emotion perception in computer-mediated face-to-face communication. Harjunen has conducted experiments in immersive virtual reality settings investigating how people perceive emotional facial expressions and touch delivered by artificial human characters and how such simulated physical contact affects our social decision-making and underlying brain processes. More recently, his research has focused on the perception of time and how the subjective experience of the passage of time changes along with the emotional state.

Ville J Harjunen Researchportal profile

Petja Sjö

Petja Sjö is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology and Logopedics at the University of Helsinki. Sjö’s experience with conducting research spans from social-psychological field studies to psychophysiological laboratory experiments. His PhD research concerns the effects of aging on emotional experiences and social regulation of emotions in technologically mediated interaction settings.

Methodologically, his work combines experimental laboratory research as well as intensive longitudinal research, such as experience sampling that uses questionnaire data gathered from the everyday life of the participants to maximize the ecological validity of the findings. This work seeks to improve the working life of aging persons by identifying scientifically-backed strategies to utilize mobile technology, such as smartphones and wearable sensors, to facilitate health behaviors and coping with stress.

Petja Sjö Researchportal profile