ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (12): 2195-2208.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.02195

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The modulatory effects of oxytocin on learning and memory: Evidence from animal and human studies

ZHOU Menghan, ZHANG Yuan, GAO Shan, Keith M. Kendrick, YAO Shuxia()   

  1. Key Laboratory of Neuroinformation, Ministry of Education, School of Life Science and Technology, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
  • Received:2021-03-17 Published:2021-10-26
  • Contact: YAO Shuxia


The neuropeptide, oxytocin (OT) has been established to play an important role in modulating social behavior and emotional processing which are of fundamental importance in our everyday life. Animal and human studies using multi-modal approaches have provided converging evidence for an important modulatory effect of exogenously administered OT on learning and memory. This effect of exogenous OT may be mediated via its receptors which are extensively distributed in key learning and memory brain networks, notably the dopamine reward pathway and limbic system. Whether OT has a facilitatory or inhibitory modulatory effect on learning and memory can be influenced by experimental paradigms and stimulus materials as well as where and when it is administered and at what dose. Future studies need to combine the respective advantages of animal models and human research and to employ standardized experimental protocols and treatment procedures to overcome current limitations in this field. Further research is also required to explore the therapeutic potential of OT for learning and memory dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.

Key words: oxytocin, learning, memory, neural mechanism

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