Food for Your Mind? The Effect of Tyrosine on Selective Attention

  • Christian FringsEmail author
  • Gregor Domes
  • Maximilian A. Friehs
  • Christoph Geißler
  • Kerstin Schneider
Original Research


The amino acid tyrosine is the precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine and can be administered as a dietary supplement. Previous studies have demonstrated that the intake of tyrosine can enhance both working memory performance and response inhibition (e.g., Colzato et al., Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 72013; Colzato et al., Neuropsychologia, 62, 398–402, 2014). In this study, we tested whether the consumption of tyrosine improved the performance of female participants in the Attention Network Test (ANT; Fan et al., Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 14, 340–347 2002) and the Stroop task (Stroop, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662 1935). Tyrosine marginally improved the resolution of interference in the Stroop task and had some impact on average reaction times. We conclude that more research is required as to understand the mechanisms through which tyrosine influences cognitive functioning. At this point in time, it remains unclear at best whether the consumption of tyrosine can be advised as a dietary supplement to support cognition.


Selective attention Tyrosine Dopamine Cognitive enhancement 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The experimental protocol was approved by the ethics committee of the University of Trier and was conducted in accordance with the latest revision of the Declaration of Helsinki.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Frings
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gregor Domes
    • 2
  • Maximilian A. Friehs
    • 1
  • Christoph Geißler
    • 1
  • Kerstin Schneider
    • 1
  1. 1.Cognitive PsychologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany
  2. 2.Biological and Clinical PsychologyUniversity of TrierTrierGermany

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