Academy of Finland has appointed Dr. Anssi Peräkylä as Academy Professor for five years (2019–2023). He is working with a team of 14 researchers located at five universities in Finland, Poland, Germany and USA. The theme of their work is “Facing narcissism”.
Anssi Peräkylä

Anssi Peräkylä (born in Helsinki, 1957) is Professor of sociology at the University of Helsinki. From January 2019, he holds the prestigious position of Academy Professor. After studying social work and sociology at the University of Tampere, he received his PhD in sociology from University of London Goldsmiths’ College in 1992. He has worked as Assistant Professor in sociology at the University of Tampere in 1992-1995, Associate Professor in sociology at the University of Helsinki (1996-1997), Professor in social psychology at the University of Tampere (1998-2003), and again in the University of Helsinki, as Professor of Sociology since 2003. He was Fulbright Scholar at the UCLA Department of Sociology in 1997-1998, and Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Study in 2009-2012. In 2012-2017, he was the Vice Director of the Finnish Center of Excellence on Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction at the University of Helsinki.

Peräkylä’s previous research topics include counselling and psychotherapy, medical interaction, facial expressions, and the interconnections between the organization of social interaction and autonomous nervous system responses in interaction participants. In the Academy Professor research project Facing Narcissism (2019-2023), he is investigating interactional practices associated to self and personality disorders. Alongside his research work, Peräkylä is also a practicing psychotherapist.

Emmi Koskinen

Emmi Koskinen is a PhD in sociology. She defended her dissertation on story reception and affiliation in interactions with neurotypical and Asperger participants in Spring 2022. In the Facing Narcissism project she is interested in similar phenomena with narcissistic individuals, and also the psychophysiology of (dis)affiliation. Other interests include the interactional practices of ‘saving face’ and how they may differ in narcissistic individuals and individuals with Asperger syndrome, as compared to neurotypicals.

Liisa Voutilainen

Liisa Voutilainen is a researcher interested in clinical interaction and emotion in social interaction. Previously she has studied psychotherapeutic interaction, empathy, and connections between interaction and autonomic nervous system activation in storytelling and in psychotherapy. In the Facing Narcissism project she studies diagnostic processes in mental health care. Her current research interests include also emotion and empathy in group settings.

Matias Piispanen

Matias Piispanen is a PhD student in Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering at Aalto University and works as a doctoral researcher in the Facing Narcissism project. He holds a master’s degree in Human Neuroscience and Technology from Aalto University. In the Facing Narcissism project, he examines self, narcissism and social interaction using methods of facial expression recognition, machine learning, experimental psychology, and neuroimaging. Furthermore, Matias is especially interested in empathy, interpersonal autonomic physiology, emotions, social neuroscience, and multidisciplinary research.

Jarno Tuominen

Jarno Tuominen is a researcher and a university teacher, currently at the University of Turku Department of Psychology and Speech-Langauage Pathology. Tuominen's research interests include social cognition and mentalizing, barriers and facilitators of decision-making, and theoretical and empirical approaches to consciousness. He aims to combine neuroscientific and qualitative methods to gain a fuller understanding on the associations between the subjective experiences and then underlying neural dynamics. Within this project Tuominen carries out post-doctoral research on the effects of trait narcissism and other relevant factors on emotional and neural responses to interpersonal feedback.

Pentti Henttonen

MA Pentti Henttonen is a cognitive scientist working as a project coordinator at methodological unit of HSSH (Helsinki Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities), specializing in psychophysiological research infrastructure and dyadic statistical methods.  His past research has focused on conversational interaction in natural and laboratory settings, during performance reviews in workplace context, and involving non-neurotypical participants. His current research topics include emotional responses to conversational ambivalence, the role of prosocial traits in interpersonal synchrony and psychometrics of beneficial and harmful effects of fortitude, also known as the Finnish concept of “Sisu”. In the Facing Narcissism project, Pentti is engaged in the planning and running of the experimental studies, and the statistical analysis of the data obtained from them.

Jörg Bergmann

Jörg Bergmann held positions at various universities in Germany until 2012 when he retired as a full professor of sociology at Bielefeld University. His research interests are: Ethnomethodology, conversation and genre analysis, qualitative methods, interaction in in everyday life, clinical encountes and other professional settings. Together with Bernadetta Janusz and Bartlomiej Tauroginski from the University of Cracow, Bergmann participates in the Facing Narcissism project by analysing couple therapy sessions with clients with narcissistic personality disorder. The aim is to identify social practices of the (narcissistic) self and to disentangle the relational and social dynamics of interactions with narcissistic participants.

Bernadetta Janusz

Dr. Bernadetta Janusz is assistant professor at Family Therapy and Psychosomatics Department, Medical College, Jagellonian University, in Cracow, Poland. She is a couple therapist, supervisor and trainer of family- and couple therapists. Her research focuses on grieving processes and couple therapy interaction. Her role in the Facing Narcissism project is to coordinate the couple therapy part of the resarch. She also contributes to the psychological conceptualization of narcissism.

Bartłomiej Taurogiński

Bartłomiej Taurogiński is a physician and a specialist in child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy. He is a certified cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist. He is currently working as an assistant in Laboratory of Psychology and Systemic Psychotherapy of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland. In the Facing Narcissism project he works with the couple therapy data.

Juha Salmitaival

Juha Salmitaival is working as an Academy Fellow at the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University School of Science (2019-2024). His background is in cognitive neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology. During his career, Salmitaival has been mainly investigating the brain mechanisms underlying human cognitive control and social cognition. Currently he is most interested in developing new technologies for the assessment and/or rehabilitation of various disorders (e.g., ADHD, autism, Parkinson's disease, narcissism) and together with his collaborators he is developing data analysis solutions that support individualized treatments. In the Facing Narcissism project, Salmitaival is involved in planning the behavioral and neuroimaging experiments, and in supervising the researchers that implement related experiments.

Ville Harjunen

Ville J. Harjunen works in the Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki. Harjunen's research is related to psychophysiology of non-verbal communication of emotions, social cognition, decision-making and individual differences in emotion-related neural processes. His methodological expertise includes EEG, autonomic nervous system measures and virtual reality simulations. Harjunen collaborates to the project by taking part in designing experiments to uncover the neural manifestations of narcissism-related interaction practices.

Mikko Sams

Mikko Sams is interested in too many things, ranging from auditory and audiovisual processing up to neural and cognitive mechanisms of social construction of reality. An important theme of his doings is interdisciplinarity, in a sense of working together with people having different expertise, sharing an interest to understand some specific aspect of human behavior, especially in naturalistic conditions. Currently a common theme in Sams' research is the role of others in human behavior, e.g. how one’s ingroup influences one’s behavior. His own research has mostly involved measurement of brain activity, as well as other bodily signals. Very close to Mikko's heart is significant collaboration between artists and scientists working on different fields. In the Facing Narcissism project, Mikko is primarily involved in the planning and supervision of the fMRI experiment. 

Pärttyli Rinne

Pärttyli Rinne is an author, philosopher, and award-winning scriptwriter-dramaturge. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of St Andrews (2016), and an MA in dramaturgy and playwriting from the Theatre Academy of Finland (2007). Rinne works diversely at the intersections of art, science, and academic philosophy. During the last few years he has focused especially on forming a broad understanding of the concept and phenomenon of love. Besides writing fiction, he is currently the coordinating researcher in the project Somatic and Neural Correlates of Love at Aalto University, Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Brain & Mind Laboratory. He collaborates with the Facing Narcissism project as a scriptwriter specialist. 

Elizabeth Krusemark

Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) Krusemark is an affiliate faculty member in the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at Millsaps College. She earned her PhD from the University of Georgia with specializations in Social Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience and received postdoctoral training at the University of Wisconsin and the MIND Research Network in the areas of affective neuroscience and clinical psychology. Her research interests and publications focus on psychological mechanisms of attention, emotion and cognition in personality pathology, including narcissistic traits and psychopathy using cognitive tasks, electroencephalography, and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Dr. Krusemark has been working with the Facing Narcissism team as a collaborator on research projects focused on conversational analysis, narcissistic traits, and neurophysiological responses during social interaction. Dr. Krusemark visited the University of Helsinki (2019-2020) to present information on theoretical, behavioral, and neurophysiological studies of narcissistic traits and personality disorders. 

Maarit Lehtinen

Maarit Lehtinen is a PhD student studying the diagnostic process of people with personality disorders. In the Facing Narcissism project, she is specially curious about the interaction between the personnel and the patients during structured interviewing. Lehtinen has a masters in psychology, and before starting the path in research she worked a s a clinical psychologist. Lehtinen is interested in mental health psychology, interaction research and sociology of diagnosis.  

Mariel Wuolio

Mariel Wuolio is a master's in social psychology and the research assistant / project planner of the Facing Narcissism project. Her role is to manage, facilitate and monitor the projects processes, be it organising events, collecting data or publishing the research.