Siri Leknes

Image of Siri  Leknes
Norwegian version of this page
Mobile phone +47-92622872
Room Mid corridor top floor
Visiting address Forskningsveien 3A Harald Schjelderups hus 0373 Oslo
Postal address Psykologisk institutt Postboks 1094 Blindern 0317 Oslo

How does the brain create subjective experiences? What happens in the nervous system that makes us perceive something as good or bad, pleasant or painful? My research uses a variety of cognitive, affective and social neuroscience techniques to answer this fundamental question. This is my wonderful team

My current and previous research projects revolve around the subjective hedonic feelings associated with rewards and punishments, social reward, and individual differences in the subjective experience of pain and pleasure. The research techniques I use include psychopharmacological studies, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and psychophysical investigations using self-report and autonomic measures. My research has implications for treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, chronic pain and other mental and physical health problems. 

Higher education and employment history

  • 2014-2016: Research fellow at the Intervention Centre, Oslo University Hospital.
  • 2010-2014: Research fellow at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo. 
  • 2008-2010: Postdoc at the universities of Gothenburg and Oslo, mentored by Professors Håkan Olausson and Bruno Laeng.
  • 2004:2008: D.Phil. on ‘Pain, Pleasure and Relief’ at the Oxford Centre for Functional Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB) in spring 2008, supervised by Professor Irene Tracey.
  • My academic training includes masters’ and doctorate degrees in Neuroscience (Oxford University, UK) and a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science (Exeter University, UK).


  • Associate editor, Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience (SCAN)
  • Associate editor, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
  • Associate editor, Scandinavian Journal of Pain


Current active international collaborations:

  • Professor Tom Johnstone at the University of Reading (Opioid modulation of craving & cognitive regulation)
  • Dr. Chantal Berna, Professor Irene Tracey et al. at the Universities of Oxford and Lausanne (The role of endogenous opioid signalling for pain and emotion)
  • Dr. Lars Westberg at the University of Gothenburg (Role of oxytocin for social cognition)
Tags: Affect, Cognitive psychology, Neuroscience, Neuropsychology, Social Psychology


  • Laeng, Bruno; Garvija, Lara; Løseth, Guro Engvig; Eikemo, Marie; Ernst, Gernot & Leknes, Siri (2021). ‘Defrosting’ music chills with naltrexone: The role of endogenous opioids for the intensity of musical pleasure. Consciousness and Cognition.  ISSN 1053-8100.  90 . doi:
  • Meier, Isabell M.; Eikemo, Marie & Leknes, Siri (2021). The Role of Mu-Opioids for Reward and Threat Processing in Humans: Bridging the Gap from Preclinical to Clinical Opioid Drug Studies. Current Addiction Reports.  ISSN 2196-2952.  s 1- 13 . doi: 10.1007/s40429-021-00366-8
  • Sulutvedt, Unni; Zavagno, Daniele; Lubell, Jamie; Leknes, Siri; de Rodez Benavent, Sigrid Aune & Laeng, Bruno (2021). Brightness perception changes related to pupil size. Vision Research.  ISSN 0042-6989.  178 . doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2020.09.004
  • Baranski, E; Sweeny, K; Gardiner, G; Leknes, Siri; Waldal Holen, Vera; Hansen, Ingelin; Tamnes, Christian Krog; Klæva, Kaia & Funder, DC (2020). International Optimism: Correlates and Consequences of Dispositional Optimism across 61 Countries. Journal of Personality.  ISSN 0022-3506. . doi: 10.1111/jopy.12582
  • Gardiner, Gwendolyn; Lee, Daniel; Baranski, Erica; Funder, David; Leknes, Siri; Waldal Holen, Vera; Hansen, Ingelin; Tamnes, Christian Krog & Klæva, Kaia (2020). Happiness around the World: A Combined Etic-Emic Approach across 63 Countries. PLOS ONE.  ISSN 1932-6203. Full text in Research Archive.
  • Hovey, Daniel; Martens, Louise; Laeng, Bruno; Leknes, Siri & Westberg, Lars (2020). The effect of intranasal oxytocin on visual processing and salience of human faces. Translational Psychiatry.  ISSN 2158-3188.  10(318), s 1- 9 . doi: 10.1038/s41398-020-00991-3 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Lee, Daniel I.; Gardiner, Gwendolyn; Baranski, Erica; Leknes, Siri; Waldal Holen, Vera; Hansen, Ingelin; Tamnes, Christian Krog; Klæva, Kaia & Funder, David C. (2020). Situational experiences around the world: A replication and extension in 62 countries. Journal of Personality.  ISSN 0022-3506.  88, s 1091- 1110
  • Trøstheim, Martin; Eikemo, Marie; Meir, Remy; Hansen, Ingelin; Paul, Elisabeth; Kroll, Sara Liane; Garland, Eric L. & Leknes, Siri (2020). Assessment of Anhedonia in Adults With and Without Mental Illness A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Network Open.  ISSN 2574-3805.  3(8) . doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.13233 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Bastian, Brock; Vauclair, Christin-Melanie; Loughnan, Steve; Bain, Paul; Ashokkumar, Ashwini; Becker, Maja; Bilewicz, Michał; Collier-Baker, Emma; Crespo, Carla; Eastwick, Paul W.; Fischer, Ronald; Friese, Malte; Gómez, Ángel; Guerra, Valeschka M.; Guevara, Josó Luis Castellanos; Hanke, Katja; Hooper, Nic; Huang, Li-Li; Junqi, Shi; Karasawa, Minoru; Kuppens, Peter; Leknes, Siri; Peker, Müjde; Pelay, Cesar; Pina, Afroditi; Sachkova, Marianna; Saguy, Tamar; Silfver-Kuhalampi, Mia; Sortheix, Florencia; Tong, Jennifer; Yeung, Victoria Wai-Lan; Duffy, Jacob & Swann, William B. (2019). Explaining illness with evil: Pathogen prevalence fosters moral vitalism. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences.  ISSN 0962-8452.  286:20191576(1914), s 1- 10 . doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1576
  • Eikemo, Marie; Lobmaier, Philipp Paul; Pedersen, Mads Lund; Kunøe, Nikolaj; Matziorinis, Anna Maria; Leknes, Siri & Sarfi, Annamaria Monika (2019). Intact responses to non-drug rewards in long-term opioid maintenance treatment. Neuropsychopharmacology.  ISSN 0893-133X.  44(8), s 1456- 1463 . doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0377-9 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Garland, Eric; Trøstheim, Martin; Eikemo, Marie; Ernst, Gernot & Leknes, Siri (2019). Anhedonia in chronic pain and prescription opioid misuse. Psychological Medicine.  ISSN 0033-2917.  s 1- 12 . doi: 10.1017/S0033291719002010
  • Hauger, Lisa Evju; Sagoe, Dominic; Vaskinn, Anja; Arnevik, Espen Kristian Ajo; Leknes, Siri; Jørstad, Marie Lindvik & Bjørnebekk, Astrid (2019). Anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence is associated with impaired emotion recognition. Psychopharmacology.  ISSN 0033-3158.  236(9), s 2667- 2676 . doi: 10.1007/s00213-019-05239-7
  • Løseth, Guro Engvig; Eikemo, Marie & Leknes, Siri (2019). Effects of opioid receptor stimulation and blockade on touch pleasantness: a double-blind randomised trial. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience.  ISSN 1749-5016.  14(4), s 411- 422 . doi: 10.1093/scan/nsz022 Full text in Research Archive.
  • van Steenbergen, Henk; Eikemo, Marie & Leknes, Siri (2019). The role of the opioid system in decision making and cognitive control: A review. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.  ISSN 1530-7026.  19(3), s 435- 458 . doi: 10.3758/s13415-019-00710-6 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Berna, Chantal; Leknes, Siri; Ahmad, Asma H; Mhuircheartaigh, Roisin N; Goodwin, Guy M. & Tracey, Irene (2018). Opioid-independent and opioid-mediated modes of pain modulation. Journal of Neuroscience.  ISSN 0270-6474.  38(42), s 9047- 9058 . doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0854-18.2018 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Kringelbach, Morten & Leknes, Siri (2018). A neuroscience perspective on pleasure and pain, In D. Bain; Michael Brady & J. Corns (ed.),  Philosophy of Pain: Unpleasantness, Emotion, and Deviance.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-0815361640.  Chapter 3.  s 70 - 88
  • Løseth, Guro Engvig; Eikemo, Marie Helene; Isager, Peder Mortvedt; Holmgren, Jostein; Laeng, Bruno; Vindenes, Vigdis; Hjornevik, Trine & Leknes, Siri (2018). Morphine reduced perceived anger from neutral and implicit emotional expressions. Psychoneuroendocrinology.  ISSN 0306-4530.  91, s 123- 131 . doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.02.035 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Ree, Anbjørn; Mayo, Leah M; Leknes, Siri & Sailer, Uta (2018). Touch targeting C-tactile afferent fibers has a unique physiological pattern: A combined electrodermal and facial electromyography study. Biological Psychology.  ISSN 0301-0511.  140, s 55- 63 . doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2018.11.006
  • Zunhammer, M; Bingel, U.; Wager, T.; Atlas, L.; Benedetti, F.; Büchel, Christian; Choi, J.C.; Colloca, L.; Duzzi, D.; Eippert, F.; Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Elsenbruch, S.; Geuter, S.; Gollub, R.; Kaptchuk, Ted J.; Kessner, S.S.; Kirsch, Irving; Kong, J.; Lamm, C.; Leknes, Siri; Müllner-Huber, A.; Lui, F.; Posso, C.A.; Rütgen, M.; Schenk, L.; Schmid, J.; Theysohn, N.; Tracey, Irene; Wrobel, N. & Zeidan, F. (2018). Placebo Effects on the Neurologic Pain Signature: A Meta-analysis of Individual Participant Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Data. JAMA Neurology.  ISSN 2168-6149.  75(11), s 1321- 1330 . doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.2017
  • Eikemo, Marie Helene; Biele, Guido; Willoch, Frode; Thomsen, Lotte & Leknes, Siri (2017). Opioid modulation of value-based decision-making in healthy humans. Neuropsychopharmacology.  ISSN 0893-133X.  42(9), s 1833- 1840 . doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.58 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Liljencrantz, Jaquette; Strigo, Irina A.; Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Krämer, Heidrun H.; Lundblad, Linda C.; Nagi, Saad Saulat; Leknes, Siri & Olausson, Håkan (2017). Slow brushing reduces heat pain in humans. European Journal of Pain.  ISSN 1090-3801.  21(7), s 1173- 1185 . doi: 10.1002/ejp.1018
  • Brandtzaeg, Ole Kristian; Johnsen, Elin Follaug; Røberg-Larsen, Hanne; Seip, Knut Fredrik; MacLean, Evan L.; Gesquiere, Laurence R.; Leknes, Siri; Lundanes, Elsa & Wilson, Steven Ray Haakon (2016). Proteomics tools reveal startlingly high amounts of oxytocin in plasma and serum. Scientific Reports.  ISSN 2045-2322.  6:31693 . doi: 10.1038/srep31693 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Chelnokova, Olga V; Laeng, Bruno; Løseth, Guro Engvig; Eikemo, Marie Helene; Willoch, Frode & Leknes, Siri (2016). The µ-Opioid System Promotes Visual Attention to Faces and Eyes. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience.  ISSN 1749-5016.  11(12), s 1902- 1909 . doi: /10.1093/scan/nsw116
  • Eikemo, Marie Helene; Løseth, Guro Engvig; Johnstone, Tom; Gjerstad, Johannes; Willoch, Frode & Leknes, Siri (2016). Sweet taste pleasantness is modulated by morphine and naltrexone. Psychopharmacology.  ISSN 0033-3158.  233(21), s 13711- 3723 . doi: 10.1007/s00213-016-4403-x Show summary
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Leknes, Siri; Løseth, Guro Engvig; Wessberg, Johan & Olausson, Håkan (2016). The neurobiology shaping affective touch: Expectation, motivation, and meaning in the multisensory context. Frontiers in Psychology.  ISSN 1664-1078.  6 . doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01986 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Løseth, Guro Engvig; Leknes, Siri & Ellingsen, Dan Mikael (2016). The neurochemical basis of motivation for affiliative touch, In Håkan Olausson; Johan Wessberg; India morrison & Francis McGlone (ed.),  Affective Touch and the Neurophysiology of CT Afferents.  Springer.  ISBN 978-1-4939-6418-5.  Chapter 15.  s 239 - 264
  • Nilsen, Andre Sevenius; Blix, Ines; Leknes, Siri; Ekeberg, Øivind; Skogstad, Laila; Endestad, Tor; Østberg, Bjørn Christian & Heir, Trond (2016). Brain activity in response to trauma-specific, negative, and neutral stimuli. A fMRI study of recent road traffic accident survivors. Frontiers in Psychology.  ISSN 1664-1078.  7:1173 . doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01173
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Leknes, Siri & Kringelbach, Morten (2015). Hedonic Value, In T. Brosch & D. Sander (ed.),  Handbook of Value: Perspectives from Economics, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.  Oxford University Press.  ISBN 9780198716600.  Chapter 13.  s 265 - 286
  • Johnsen, Elin Follaug; Leknes, Siri; Wilson, Steven Ray Haakon & Lundanes, Elsa (2015). Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry platform for both small neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in blood, with automatic and robust solid phase extraction. Scientific Reports.  ISSN 2045-2322.  5 . doi: 10.1038/srep09308 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Jonassen, Rune; Chelnokova, Olga V; Harmer, Catherine; Leknes, Siri & Landrø, Nils Inge (2015). A single dose of antidepressant alters eye-gaze patterns across face stimuli in healthy women. Psychopharmacology.  ISSN 0033-3158.  232(5), s 953- 958 . doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3729-5
  • Bastian, Brock; Jetten, Yolanda; Hornsey, Matthew & Leknes, Siri (2014). The Positive Consequences of Pain: A Biopsychosocial Approach. Personality and Social Psychology Review.  ISSN 1088-8683.  18(3), s 256- 279 . doi: 10.1177/1088868314527831
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Wessberg, Johan; Chelnokova, Olga V; Olausson, Håkan; Laeng, Bruno & Leknes, Siri Graff (2014). In touch with your emotions: Oxytocin and touch change social impressions while others' facial expressions can alter touch. Psychoneuroendocrinology.  ISSN 0306-4530.  39(1), s 11- 20 . doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.09.017
  • Leknes, Siri & Bastian, Brock (2014). How does pain affect eating and food pleasure?. Pain.  ISSN 0304-3959.  155(4), s 652- 653
  • Leknes, Siri & Bastian, Brock (2014). The Benefits of Pain. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.  ISSN 1878-5158.  5(1), s 57- 70 . doi: 10.1007/s13164-014-0178-3
  • Løseth, Guro Engvig; Ellingsen, Dan Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2014). State-dependent μ-opioid modulation of social motivation. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.  ISSN 1662-5153.  8 . doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00430
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Wessberg, Johan; Eikemo, Marie Helene; Liljencrantz, Jaquette; Endestad, Tor; Olausson, Håkan & Leknes, Siri Graff (2013). Placebo improves pleasure and pain through opposite modulation of sensory processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  ISSN 0027-8424.  110(44), s 17993- 17998 . doi: 10.1073/pnas.1305050110
  • Leknes, Siri Graff; Berna, Chantal; Lee, Michael; Snyder, Gregory; Biele, Guido & Tracey, Irene (2013). The importance of context: When relative relief renders pain pleasant. Pain.  ISSN 0304-3959.  154(3), s 402- 410 . doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2012.11.018
  • Leknes, Siri Graff; Wessberg, Johan; Ellingsen, Dan Mikael; Chelnokova, Olga V; Olausson, Håkan & Laeng, Bruno (2013). Oxytocin enhances pupil dilation and sensitivity to hidden emotional expressions. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience.  ISSN 1749-5016.  8(7), s 741- 749 . doi: 10.1093/scan/nss062
  • Wanigasekera, Vishvarani; Lee, Michael; Rogers, Richard; Kong, Yazhuo; Leknes, Siri Graff; Andersson, Jesper & Tracey, Irene (2012). Baseline reward circuitry activity and trait reward responsiveness predict expression of opioid analgesia in healthy subjects. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.  ISSN 0027-8424.  109(43), s 17705- 17710 . doi: 10.1073/pnas.1120201109

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  • Løseth, Guro; Eikemo, Marie & Leknes, Siri Graff (2019). Effects of opioid receptor stimulation and blockade on touch pleasantness: a double-blind randomised trial. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience.  ISSN 1749-5016. . doi: 10.1093/scan/nsz022
  • Brandtzæg, Ole Kristian Merkesvik; Johnsen, Elin Follaug; Røberg-Larsen, Hanne; Leknes, Siri; Lundanes, Elsa & Wilson, Steven Ray Haakon (2016). Robust nano liquid chromatography mass spectrometry system for targeted determination of oxytocin in human serum/plasma..
  • Johnsen, Elin Follaug; Wilson, Steven Ray Haakon; Leknes, Siri & Lundanes, Elsa (2015). Highly automated platform for simultaneous identification of all classes of neurotransmitters by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography-MS.
  • Jonassen, Rune; Chelnokova, Olga V; Harmer, Catherine; Leknes, Siri & Landrø, Nils Inge (2014). A single dose of antidepressant alters eye-gaze patterns across face stimuli in healthy women..
  • Chelnokova, Olga V; Laeng, Bruno; Eikemo, Marie Helene; Riegels, Jeppe; Løseth, Guro; Maurud, Hedda; Willoch, Frode & Leknes, Siri (2014). Rewards of beauty: The opioid system mediates social motivation in humans. Molecular Psychiatry.  ISSN 1359-4184.  19(7), s 746- 747 . doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.1
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2014). Forbedring av smerte og velbehag ved bruk av placebo. BestPractice Smerte.  ISSN 1902-7583.  10, s 16- 17
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2014). Kan vi snu smerteopplevelsen fra vond til god? Forventninger, kontekst og lettelse påvirker smerte. BestPractice Smerte.  ISSN 1902-7583.  9, s 6- 7
  • Johnsen, Elin Follaug; Folven, Lars; Leknes, Siri; Greibrokk, Tyge; Wilson, Steven Ray Haakon & Lundanes, Elsa (2014). On-line coupling of various spe phases with HILIC-LC for enrichment and separation of polar neurotransmitters in various biological matrices.
  • Chelnokova, Olga V; Laeng, Bruno; Riegels, Jeppe; Løseth, Guro Engvig; Eikemo, Marie Helene & Leknes, Siri Graff (2013). THE HUMAN OPIOID SYSTEM MEDIATES ATTENTION TO OTHERS' EYES. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.  ISSN 0898-929X.  s 216- 216
  • Ellingsen, Dan Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2013). Placebo gav lindrad smärta, men också ökad njutning. Läkartidningen.  ISSN 0023-7205.  110(49-50)
  • Ellingsen, Dan-Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2013). Placebo gav lindrad smärta, men också ökad njutning. Läkartidningen.  ISSN 0023-7205.  110
  • Leknes, Siri; Berna, Chantal; Lee, M; Snyder, G.; Biele, Guido & Tracey, Irene (2013). Response to the commentary “Multiple potential mechanisms for context effects on pain”. Pain.  ISSN 0304-3959.  154(8), s 1485- 1486 . doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2013.04.002
  • Løseth, Guro Engvig; Ellingsen, Dan Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2013). Touch and Pain. In Biswas-Diener, R., Diener, E., Noba textbook series: Psychology. [html ].
  • Løseth, Guro Engvig; Ellingsen, Dan-Mikael & Leknes, Siri (2013). Touch and Pain. In: Noba textbook series: Psychology. Edited by R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener. [html ].
  • Leknes, Siri Graff & Laeng, Bruno (2009). Social touch: investigating the role of oxytocin for interactions in the hedonic experience of touch and emotion. SFN Abstract Viewer/Itinerary Planner. Show summary

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Published Aug. 26, 2016 3:14 PM - Last modified May 3, 2019 2:34 PM