Departmental Colloquia Series: Dr. Dan Quintana

The Department of Psychology invites to a lecture by

Dr. Dan Quintana, University of Oslo, Norway on Thursday 21st November 2019, 15:15-1645

The title of the lecture is: "Oxytocin’s modulatory effects on social cognition"

The lecture takes place at the Library, Faculty of Social Sciences, Audit 1, Gothersgade 140, 1353 Copenhagen K. 

After the lecture the Department invites to a reception at Øster Farimagsgade 2A, 2nd floor, room 03-2-M202, 1353 Copenhagen K.

Faculty, students and others with interest are welcome.


The neuropeptide oxytocin has garnered considerable interest for its role in social behavior and its potential for the treatment of psychiatric illnesses characterised by social dysfunction. However, initial excitement has turned to disappointment with some studies failing to replicate earlier results, which has been attributed to issues surrounding research methods, mechanistic understanding, and theory development. In this talk, I will discuss efforts to improve research design to enhance reproducibility, including precise sample size estimation, synthetic datasets, and ways to test evidence for null models. I will also describe two lines of research aiming to better understand oxytocin signalling mechanisms: i) Research identifying whole brain voxel-by-voxel gene expression patterns of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene and its association with mental states via a large-scale fMRI meta-analysis of 14,371 studies and ii) data from two clinical trials demonstrating that compared to placebo, 8IU intranasal oxytocin (but not 24IU intranasal oxytocin or 1IU intravenous oxytocin) modulates social cognition, pupil diameter, and neural activity. Altogether, these studies provide the first steps towards identifying targets for oxytocin receptor engagement in the human brain and suggest that a lower 8IU intranasal dose might be more efficacious than the conventional 24IU dose. I will close by presenting my new theory of oxytocin’s role in human behaviour, which proposes that oxytocin modulates both social and non-social behaviour to maintain stability in changing environments.