Dr. Justine Fam

Dr. Justine Fam

Dr. Justine Fam

ARC Discovery Early Career Research Fellow

PhD, Psychology, UNSW

B. Science (Hons Class I), UNSW

Diploma in Communications & Media Management, Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore

Contact details

Email: Dr. Justine Fam

Office: Mathews, Room 709

Research Summary

My research examines the role of oxytocin, an evolutionarily ancient peptide, in learning and memory. Although oxytocin is well-known for being important for social behahaviours across many species, the mechanisms that support this have not been well-characterised. One possible mechanism of oxytocin's effect is that of enhanced attention to salient cues. Using an associative learning framework, my work examines the effects of oxytocin on cue processing through a combination of pharmacological and chemogenetic techniques to target the oxytocin system. 




Fam, J., Clemens, K. J., Westbrook, R. F., Morris, M. J., & Kendig, M. D. (2021). Chronic exposure to cafeteria-style diet in rats alters sweet taste preference and reduces motivation for, but not 'liking' of sucrose. Appetite, 168, 105742.

Fam, J., Huff, M. J., Westbrook, R. F., & Holmes, N. M. (2021). The effect of early list manipulations on the DRM illusion. Quarterly journal of experimental psychology, 74(11), 1924–1934.

Crane, J. W., Holmes, N. M., Fam, J., Westbrook, R. F., & Delaney, A. J. (2020). Oxytocin increases inhibitory synaptic transmission and blocks development of long-term potentiation in the lateral amygdala. Journal of neurophysiology123(2), 587–599.

Fam, J., & Lee, J. C. (2019). Peer mentoring: A move towards addressing inequality between PhD students. Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, 1(1), e8.

Delaney, A.J., Crane, J.W., Holmes, N.M., Fam, J., Westbrook, R.F. (2018) Baclofen acts in the central amygdala to reduce synaptic transmission and impair context fear conditioning, Scientific Reports, 8.

Fam, J., Holmes, N., Delaney, A., Crane, J., Westbrook, R.F. (2018) Oxytocin receptor activation in the basolateral complex of the amygdala enhances discrimination between discrete cues and promotes configural processing of cues, Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 96, pp. 84 - 92.

Holmes, N. M., Crane, J. W., Tang, M., Fam, J., Westbrook, R. F., & Delaney, A. J. (2017). α2-adrenoceptor-mediated inhibition in the central amygdala blocks fear conditioning. Scientific Reports, 7(1)

Fam, J., Westbrook, R. F., & Holmes, N. M. (2017). An examination of changes in behavioural control when stimuli with different associative histories are conditioned in compound. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 43(3)

Holmes, N. M., Hutton-Bedbrook, K., Fam, J., & Westbrook, R. F. (2016). Incentive contrast effects regulate responding to a falvor presented in compound with a saccharin unconditioned stimulus in rats. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 42(3), 233-45, doiL 10.1037/xan0000101.

Fam, J., Westbrook, R. F., & Arabzadeh, E. (2016). Temporal dynamics of choice behaviour in rats and humans: an examination of pre- and post-choice latencies. Scientific Reports, 6(20583), doi:10.1038/srep20583.

Fam, J., Westbrook, R. F., & Arabzadeh, E. (2015). Behavioral correlates of the decision process in a dynamic environment: post-choice latencies reflect relative value and choice evaluation. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9:261, doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00261.

Huynh, C., Fam, J., Ahmed, S. H., & Clemens, K. J. (2015). Rats quit nicotine for a sweet reward following an extensive history of nicotine use. Addiction Biology, doi: 10.1111/adb.12306.

Fam, J., Westbrook, R. F., & Arabzadeh, E. (2015). Dynamics of pre-choice and post-choice behaviour: rats approximate optimal strategy in a discrete-trial decision task. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282(1803):20142963, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2963.

Holmes, N. M., & Fam, J. (2013). How does dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens core relate to encoding of a Pavlovian incentive stimulus? Journal of Neursocience, 33(25), 10191-10192, doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1543-13.2013.

Awards, Fellowships & Grants

2020 British Society for Neuroendocrinology Project Support Grant

2020 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)


Current Research Students


  • Benjamin Letran
  • Vanessa Chan (co-supervision with Dr Vincent Laurent)


  • David Cohen (co-supervision with Dr Nathan Holmes)