Researchers at John Hopkins University just published a study in which they concluded that caffeine and one’s ability to remember are positively correlated. In the study, the participants looked at images and fives minutes later were given either a placebo tablet or a 200 mg tablet of caffeine. By giving the participants caffeine after the experiment, a number of factors that could contribute to this memory increase could to be eliminated: attention, vigilance, or focus. By administrating it after the experiment, they were able to narrow down the possible factors to just the enhancement of the brain’s ability to remember. The group that was given the caffeine tablets were able to remember the images in more detail the next day. These effects were only able to be correlated to a 24 hour time frame, long-term memory recollection was not tested in this experiment. However, caffeine and long-term health are correlated. Caffeine is also believed to be able to protect against cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, in the elderly.
The study done above was a prime example of functionalism. Functionalism is the study of how the mind adapts to a changing environment. The experiment used random assignment, with the representative population being non-caffeine drinkers. This best accentuates the caffeine’s effects that occurs then during the experiment. During the experiment, the body encounter an altered state of mind, which allowed for the brain’s adaption to be observed. The experiment yielded results that lead to the conclusion that the mind’s adaptions is related to a short-term increase in memory. The experiment opens the door to understanding why these effects occurred. It is worth noting that this study was correlational research and that the outcome can only account for correlation and not causation. Another next step might be experimentation to determine what actually is the cause of this outcome.
Johns Hopkins. “It’s all coming back to me now: Researchers find caffeine enhances memory.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140112190725.htm>.