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Caffeine Shown to Enhance Memory

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 01:45PM

Personally, I do no care for coffee but I know many people who cannot go a day without at least one cup. According to researchers at John Hopkins University, those coffee drinkers I know may be benefitting from its caffeine in more ways than just being woken up by it.

For some time it has been known that caffeine affects one's cognitive ability, but its impact on long-term memory has not been so well studied. That is what the researchers decided to focus on though with their double-blind experiment using over one hundred fifty participants. These people were not regular consumers of caffeine and were given either a placebo or 200 mg caffeine tablet after studying a group of images. The next day the participants were quizzed on those images as the researchers showed them identical pictures, different pictures, or similar pictures to what they had studied. The results showed that caffeine did help the participants remember the images the next day.

There are two key features to this experiment that make its results very interesting. For one, the caffeine was given after studying, so it could only impact memory and not focus or some other ability. The use of similar pictures was also important as it is more difficult for the brain to discriminate between what it is being shown and what it remembered.

For anyone hoping to take advantage of caffeine to quickly learn something, you should know that the 200 mg mark appears to be optimal, so there is no point in over doing it. That is about as much caffeine as you get in one strong cup of coffee, or two smaller ones.

Source: John Hopkins University

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