You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Caffeine stirs memory: study

AFP  |  Paris 

A jolt of caffeine can boost memory, according to a study published today that provides a scientific motive for students slurping coffee, tea or energy drinks when cramming for exams.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found that caffeine enhances certain memories for at least a day after they were formed.

Evidence for caffeine as a memory booster has been anecdotal until now.

This is because the process of registering memories -- say, reading a book ahead of an exam -- may happen in conditions where the person is eager to absorb and retain information.

This makes it hard to distinguish between someone's natural alertness and that derived from caffeine.

To strip out this confounding factor, a team led by Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain science, tried a different tack.

They asked 73 volunteers to look at images of a number of objects -- for instance, a plant, a basket, a saxophone, or a seahorse.

Afterwards, half of the group were given a 200 milligramme dose of caffeine -- roughly equivalent to two cups of strong espresso -- and the others a dummy pill known as a placebo.

Saliva samples were taken one, three and 24 hours later to measure caffeine levels.

The following day, both groups were asked to look at another set of pictures.

Some of the images were the same, others were new, and a few were similar -- for instance, a basket as before, but this time with one handle instead of two.

Both groups did well at distinguishing between old and new pictures, the researchers said.

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, January 13 2014. 00:35 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU