Caffeine is a Memory Enhancer?

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>.

6 thoughts on “Caffeine is a Memory Enhancer?

  1. Alexis Marie Arra

    The title of your post caught my attention because I never knew that caffeine was tested as a memory enhancer. I always heard more negative effects of drinking caffeine than positive ones. To hear that caffeine showed results in an increase of short-term memory is fascinating. Although I do not drink too much caffeine anymore, I just might have to try it the next time I am studying for a test the night before!
    Alexis Arra

  2. Taylor Blackford

    Parts of this study leave me asking questions. Correlation studies should always be followed up with an experiment of sorts, especially at an institution like Hopkins. Another facet with the experiment is why was the tablet issued 5 minutes after the subject viewed the image, wouldn’t the increased alertness help/hinder the viewing of the image to help pick out certain characteristics otherwise missed. The idea behind the study is sound, but it has potential to have more complete findings, but this may be just the first of many papers by this lab.

  3. Andrew Collin Kelly

    This is a very interesting study. I think many people would find this very surprising that caffeine enhances memory. Some people are paranoid about becoming dependent on caffeinated drinks, but I feel as the results to this study could change their minds. I do not drink coffee or soda that often, but I am definitely interested in seeing if this helps my memory in any way.
    Andrew Kelly

  4. Katie Kirkman

    This is a very interesting study and result from the experiment. I personally do not like to drink coffee but since it appears to help with memory for school I suppose I will consider starting to drink it every morning. I have always thought it was bad to depend on coffee for energy every morning but if it helps with memory I will consider drinking around tests while studying.
    Katie Kirkman

  5. Katie Kirkman

    This is a very interesting study and result from the experiment. I personally do not like to drink coffee but since it appears to help with memory for school I suppose I will consider starting to drink it every morning. I have always thought it was bad to depend on coffee for energy every morning but if it helps with memory I will consider drinking around tests while studying.
    Katie Kirkman

  6. ajr232

    This is an interesting study to me because I like drinking both coffee and tea. As a student it is always nice to know more ways to remember information so I will keep this study in mind. I will be drinking more coffee and tea around test times! Since this was an experiment we are able to see the cause and effect of caffeine on memory.
    Amanda Riccobelli

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