Dr Justine Fam

Dr Justine Fam

Research Associate

2016 Doctor of Philosophy, Psychology (UNSW Sydney)

2010 Bachelor of Science, Hons Class I (UNSW Sydney)

2003 Diploma, Communications & Media Management (Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore)

School of Psychology

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Psychology at the University of New South Wales. I am currently working on projects that investigate the neural mechanisms underpinning learning and memory. Some of my work assesses how neuromodulation by oxytocin enhances attention and facilitates learning. My other work examines the neural substrates of higher order conditioning use chemogenetic techniques. I was awarded a PhD in Psychology in 2016 at UNSW for my doctoral work which examined the temporal dynamics and behavioural correlates of decision-making. I hope to contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie learning and memory by pairing neuroscience techniques with detailed analyses of behaviour.

  • Journal articles | 2023
    Fam J; Chieng B; Westbrook RF; Laurent V; Holmes NM, 2023, 'Second-order fear conditioning involves formation of competing stimulus-danger and stimulus-safety associations', Cerebral Cortex, 33, pp. 1843 - 1855, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac176
    Journal articles | 2022
    Fam J; Clemens KJ; Westbrook RF; Morris MJ; Kendig MD, 2022, 'Chronic exposure to cafeteria-style diet in rats alters sweet taste preference and reduces motivation for, but not ‘liking’ of sucrose', Appetite, 168, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105742
    Journal articles | 2022
    Holmes NM; Fam JP; Clemens KJ; Laurent V; Westbrook RF, 2022, 'The neural substrates of higher-order conditioning: A review', Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 138, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104687
    Journal articles | 2021
    Fam J; Huff MJ; Westbrook RF; Holmes NM, 2021, 'The effect of early list manipulations on the DRM illusion', Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 74, pp. 1924 - 1934, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/17470218211012620
    Journal articles | 2020
    Crane JW; Holmes NM; Fam J; Westbrook RF; Delaney AJ, 2020, 'Oxytocin increases inhibitory synaptic transmission and blocks development of long-term potentiation in the lateral amygdala', Journal of Neurophysiology, 123, pp. 587 - 599, http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/JN.00571.2019
    Journal articles | 2019
    Fam J; Lee JC, 2019, 'Peer mentoring: A move towards addressing inequality between PhD students', Neuroanatomy and Behaviour, 1, pp. e8 - e8, http://dx.doi.org/10.35430/nab.2019.e8
    Journal articles | 2018
    Delaney AJ; Crane JW; Holmes NM; Fam J; Westbrook RF, 2018, 'Baclofen acts in the central amygdala to reduce synaptic transmission and impair context fear conditioning', Scientific Reports, 8, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-28321-0
    Journal articles | 2018
    Fam J; Holmes N; Delaney A; Crane J; Westbrook RF, 2018, 'Oxytocin receptor activation in the basolateral complex of the amygdala enhances discrimination between discrete cues and promotes configural processing of cues', Psychoneuroendocrinology, 96, pp. 84 - 92, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.06.006
    Journal articles | 2017
    Fam J; Westbrook RF; Holmes NM, 2017, 'An examination of changes in behavioral control when stimuli with different associative histories are conditioned in compound', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 43, pp. 205 - 218, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xan0000140
    Journal articles | 2017
    Holmes NM; Crane JW; Tang M; Fam J; Westbrook RF; Delaney AJ, 2017, 'α2-adrenoceptor-mediated inhibition in the central amygdala blocks fear-conditioning', Scientific Reports, 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12115-x
    Journal articles | 2017
    Huynh C; Fam J; Ahmed SH; Clemens KJ, 2017, 'Rats quit nicotine for a sweet reward following an extensive history of nicotine use', Addiction Biology, 22, pp. 142 - 151, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/adb.12306
    Journal articles | 2016
    Fam J; Westbrook F; Arabzadeh E, 2016, 'Temporal dynamics of choice behavior in rats and humans: An examination of pre-and post-choice latencies', Scientific Reports, 6, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep20583
    Journal articles | 2016
    Holmes NM; Hutton-Bedbrook K; Fam J; Westbrook RF, 2016, 'Incentive contrast effects regulate responding to a flavor presented in compound with a saccharin unconditioned stimulus in rats', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition, 42, pp. 233 - 245, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xan0000101
    Journal articles | 2015
    Fam J; Westbrook 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, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00261
    Journal articles | 2015
    Fam J; Westbrook F; Arabzadeh E, 2015, 'Dynamics of pre- and post-choice behaviour: rats approximate optimal strategy in a discrete-trial decision task', Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 282, pp. 20142963, http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.2963
    Journal articles | 2013
    Holmes NM; Fam J, 2013, 'How Does Dopamine Release in the Nucleus Accumbens Core Relate to Encoding of a Pavlovian Incentive Stimulus?', Journal of Neuroscience, 33, pp. 10191 - 10192, http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1543-13.2013
  • Preprints | 2022
    Leake J; Leidl DM; Lay BPP; Fam JP; Giles MC; Qureshi OA; Westbrook RF; Holmes NM, 2022, What is learned determines how Pavlovian conditioned fear is consolidated in the brain, , http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.12.05.519226

2021 University of Sydney School of Psychology Booster Grant. (40,000 AUD).

2021 UNSW 3Rs Grant. (29,666 AUD).

2020 ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA). (411,158 AUD).

2020 British Society for Neuroendocrinology Project Support Grant. (7,000 GBP).

2022 January UNSW School of Medicine Science Paper of the Month Award for Fam et al., 2022, Appetite, 168(1), 105742.

2021 UNSW Med-ECAN Best Basic Science Paper for Fam et al., 2022, Appetite, 168(1), 105742.

My Research Supervision


  • Sydney Nicholas
  • Lianna Sims
  • Benjamin Letran
  • Vanessa Chan (co-supervision with Dr Vincent Laurent)


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