Yingying Han

Validity and integrity in natural sciences

Institute for Science in Society, Radboud University, yingying.han@ru.nl

Supervisors: prof. Henk de Regt, dr. Willem Halffman, dr. Luca Consoli


B.Sc. Psychology at Wuhan University, China (2007-2011)

(Research)M.Sc. Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience at University of Groningen (2011-2014), thesis entitled “Connectivity of the theory of mind network in high-functioning autism”

Ph.D.  Neuroscience at Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience & University of Amsterdam (since 2014), dissertation under revision

Summary PhD Project

Although researchers agree on the importance of validity, they have not yet reached a consensus on what validity is and how we should understand it. My research project engages in the current debate and aims to clarify the concept of validity on both the normative and descriptive level by an interdisciplinary approach using philosophical conceptual analysis and sociological qualitative research methods.

Central research questions of the project include: What is validity? How can or should it be understood? What different taxonomies of validity circulate in different fields of research and why? What is the normative standard set by a (neuro)scientific community and individual scientists? How is the standard implemented in the actual scientific practices? Is there a gap between the normative ideal of valid research and the actual practice? If there is a gap, how can it be bridged? To address these issues, this interdisciplinary project will employ a combination of theoretical and empirical methods, drawing on social studies of science, philosophy of science, and research ethics. As a neuroscientist by training, I will take advantage of my background and conduct case studies of neuroscience. Hopefully, the project will not only enrich our understanding of scientific validity and integrity but also contribute to improving scientific practices.


Yingying Han, Bo Sichterman, Carrillo Maria, Valeria Gazzola, and Christian Keysers. 2020. “Similar levels of emotional contagion in male and female rats.” Scientific Reports 10 (1), 1-12.

Yingying Han, Rune Bruls, Efe Soyman, Rajat Mani Thomas, Vasiliki Pentaraki, Naomi Jelinek, Mirjam Heinemans, et al. 2019. “Bidirectional Cingulate-Dependent Danger Information Transfer across Rats.” Edited by Frans B. M. de Waal. PLoS Biology 17 (12): e3000524. [co-first authorship]

Carrillo Maria, Yinging Han, Filippo Migliorati, Ming Liu, Valeria Gazzola, and Christian Keysers. 2019. “Emotional Mirror Neurons in the Rat’s Anterior Cingulate Cortex.” Current Biology 29 (8): 1301-1312.e6. [co-first authorship, Winning paper for the NIN Brain Award for Scientific Excellence in 2019]

Carrillo Maria, Filippo Migliorati, Rune Bruls, Yingying Han, Mirjam Heinemans, Ilanah Pruis, Valeria Gazzola, and Christian Keysers. 2015. “Repeated Witnessing of Conspecifics in Pain: Effects on Emotional Contagion.” PLoS ONE 10 (9): 1–11.

Yingying Han, Junhua Zhao. 2013. “The beneficial effect of attention capture on the attentional blink.” Psychological Science 36(2): 301-305. [Chinese Journal]