A rat study shows how Ritalin improves concentration and, it now appears, speed of learning. The study reveals that it does this by increasing the activity of dopamine at two specific types of neurotransmitter receptors in the amygdala. The dopamine receptor tagged “D2” appears to control the ability to stay focused on a task, while the D1 receptor underlies learning efficiency. The finding may help the development of better-targeted drugs.
(2010). Methylphenidate facilitates learning-induced amygdala plasticity.
Nat Neurosci. 13(4), 475 - 481.