Universiteit Leiden

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The neurochemistry of reward and social cognition in humans

  • Siri Leknes
Wednesday 8 March 2017
Faculty of Social Science
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden


Evidence from non-human animal models points to key roles for the opioid and oxytocin systems in social reward. In humans, a burgeoning literatures centered around the use of intranasal oxytocin attempts to map out the role of oxytocin in a wide range of behaviours. Very recently, a related literature has emerged using opioid psychopharmacology. In stark contrast to the single nasal spray currently  in the oxytocin toolbox, a number of different opioid agonist drugs exist that are safe to use. This raises some methodological issues that may be of relevance also to the oxytocin field. Furthermore, several antagaonist drugs exist that can be used to test whether opioids are necessary for behaviours of interest.

In this talk, I will present evidence mainly from my own lab on the effects of oxytocin and opioid manipulations on eye gaze and emotion perception. Using this as a basis, I will discuss some methodological issues pertaining to psychopharmacology studies of oxytocin and opioids in humans.

The Leknes Affective Brain Lab

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