Yingying Tan

My research focuses on interactions between neurotransmitters, specifically catecholamine (CA), and basic language processes. Catecholamine (e.g., dopamine, noradrenaline) neurotransmitters play a critical role in cognitive functions that are closely tied to the prefrontal cortex and striatal networks, such as working memory and decision-making. Recent studies based on both neurodegenerative patients and the healthy population suggested that CA also influences language processing. In a recent project, through the administration of methylphenidate (market name Ritalin), which is a CA agonist, we found that an elevated CA level promoted participants' semantic processing even when language processing was actually not the processing goal per se. My current efforts aim to further investigate the nature of the interaction between CA level and language processing, by combining psychopharmacological and electroencephalographic methods.

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