Amazing Facts about Caffeine’s effects

In this article, you will find a collection of Amazing facts about caffeine, from different studies that evaluated caffeine’s effects on the mind, memory, reaction time, decision making, solving problems… etc. If you are a coffee lover or your favorite drink it contains caffeine, So this article is made for you. let’s start.

Researches found that 100 and 200 mg of caffeine facilitated the ability to discriminate colors in men and women. For females, however, caffeine was found to impair color discrimination when oral contraceptives were also administered.

Several studies that evaluated caffeine’s effects on the subject’s perception showed that: The higher – caffeine you have, the fewer color discrimination errors you make. And vice versa: The lower – caffeine you have, the more color discrimination errors you make. The interpretation was that caffeine helps one to ignore distracting or irrelevant stimulation.

How much Caffeine in your Drinks?

Simple and choice reaction time:

Several caffeine studies have used a Simple Reaction Time (SRT) or a Choice Reaction Time (CRT) type of task. In SRT tasks, the subject is required as rapidly as possible to make a fixed response to a single stimulus. In about half of the experiments, utilizing either visual or auditory stimuli, caffeine was found to reduce Reaction Time (RT) in both SRT (Simple Reaction Time) and CRT (Choice Reaction Time). And in Response accuracy task (more hits/fewer errors) was found to be either improved by caffeine.

Speeded decision making:

In studies on verbal reasoning subjects typically are shown statements about the order of the letters and B, each sentence is followed by a pair of letters, AB or BA (e.g., A follows B. BA right? Yes or No?). In such “logical reasoning” tasks, the subject’s task is to read the statement, look at the pair of letters, and then decide, as fast as possible, whether the statement is true or false. In 10 out of 13 studies, all done with young participants, caffeine was found to improve the speed or accuracy of logical reasoning.

Caffeine also improved speeded semantic processing in tasks in which the subjects were shown a series of sentences referring to general knowledge and had to decide whether the sentence was true or false.

Caffeine’s effects on Cancellation

In performance on a cancellation task, subjects usually are presented sheets with digits, letters, or symbols. The task is to cancel as many specified target items as fast as possible. In seven studies caffeine improved task performance.
The benefits are seen with caffeine, however, were modified by dose, time on task, and the memory load of the task, signifying that caffeine improves cancellation performance only when relatively few target items have to be retained in memory.

Caffeine’s effects on Substitution

Digit or symbol substitution tasks, which require subjects as rapidly as possible to replace symbols with digits or letters (or vice versa), do not seem to be sensitive to caffeine except when performed under suboptimal conditions, such as during the night, when combating fatigue in the later part of test sessions, or in subjects who are not deprived of caffeine.

Caffeine facilitates performing substitution tests in suboptimal conditions, such as early in the morning or during the night when fatigued, or during long tasks. Caffeine could also improve the copying of symbols during the night.

Caffeine and Cognitive tasks:

One study has shown that a 250-mg dose of caffeine tended to improve the number of solved problems and the number of correct solutions on a concentration performance test, whereas a 400-mg dose tended to impair performance. A similar performance impairment was found in a study in a realistic daily life setting in which 13 male marines had to solve navigation problems by using information from charts (by Marsden and Leach 2000). Also, caffeine tends to improve your ability in solving chess problems; if you are a fan.

Other cognitive tasks that have been used in caffeine research include arithmetic, writing speed, reading comprehension, reading speed, sentence completion, solving anagrams, classification of pictures, and card sorting. Most of these cognitive and intellectual activities were found to be affected significantly by caffeine, or at least caffeine tended to improve the performance in completing those activities.

Caffeine with Paired-Associate Learning

In a paired-association learning paradigm, subjects typically are exposed to word pairs of a high or a low degree of semantic association. The instruction is to learn the word pairs. Subjects are then given the first word of each pair as a stimulus for recall of the second. Thus, paired-association learning tasks involve cued recall, where the cue is provided by the experimenter rather than “created” by the subject self as in free recall.

Caffeine does not seem to affect paired-association learning performance, neither when a recall is assessed immediately nor when it is assessed after a delay. You should try something else, caffeine here doesn’t work.  Also, caffeine does not affect the learning of mental mazes or the learning of 10-response sequences using three buttons on a response panel. Apparently, caffeine has no influence on intentional learning or serial learning.

Incidental Learning

In contrast to the tasks discussed above, in which subjects are told that their memory is tested later (intentional learning), a few caffeine studies have used memory tasks where subjects are not told before that there will be a memory test (incidental learning). The basic idea behind the incidental learning paradigm is that more knowledge is gained over the subjects’ information processing activities at the time of learning, while in intentional learning subjects may be inclined to perform additional processing activities (rehearsal, memory aids) in order to improve their performance.

In sum, caffeine facilitates incidental learning in tasks in which information is presented passively; in tasks in which material is learned intentionally, caffeine has no effect.

Caffeine and Memory

Human memory can be divided into working memory (WM) and long-term memory (LTM). WM stores information over brief intervals of time during which further processing can be performed (e.g., recognition). Only limited amounts of information of which we are aware can be stored in this WM. On the other hand, Long-Term Memory (LTM) contains large amounts of information stored for considerable periods of time. We are not aware of this information until it is activated and becomes part of working memory. LTM and WM can be deliberately accessed during task performance; they are then explicit memories. Implicit memories are memory representations, which cannot be directly accessed.

Caffeine’s effects on Memory

Sternberg’s memory-search paradigm (Sternberg, 1969) is often used to evaluate caffeine’s effects on the retrieval of information from memory. In this paradigm, the subject has presented a sequence of stimuli and on each trial has to decide, as fast as possible, whether the stimulus is a member of a small memorized set of stimuli.

In four out of five studies, caffeine in doses from 100 to 500 mg did not affect memory span performance. But, caffeine may affect serial comparisons and binary decisions as well as response selection processes. The safest conclusion about the effect of caffeine on central-related processes is that it is limited to Working Memory (WM). 

The fact here is that your memory is not affected directly by caffeine. Caffeine’s effect has nothing to do with memory performance. In those task conditions in which task load was varied by varying the memory set size, no caffeine effects were observed on those experiments. Apparently, memory load effects are not affected by caffeine; in other words, memory search is insensitive to caffeine.

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