Scientists reveal the real effect coffee has on your creativity and problem-solving « Khabarhub
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Scientists reveal the real effect coffee has on your creativity and problem-solving

08 March 2020  

Time taken to read : 3 Minute

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LONDON: It’s one of the most widely-used drugs in the world and ingested by millions or even billions of people every day.

But as we swig a quintuple espresso first thing in the morning, do we really know the effect all that caffeine is having on our psyche? Scientists have produced a new analysis of the effect of caffeine to work out how it affects creativity and problem-solving.

‘In Western cultures, caffeine is stereotypically associated with creative occupations and lifestyles, from writers and their coffee to programmers and their energy drinks, and there’s more than a kernel of truth to these stereotypes,’ wrote Darya Zabelina, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas in a study published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

She said that caffeine has cognitive benefits including increased alertness, improved vigilance, enhanced focus, and improved motor performance. However, its effect on creativity is less known.

In her paper, Zabelina discusses ‘convergent’ and ‘divergent’ thinking. The first of these is defined as ‘seeking a specific solution to a problem, for example, the “correct” answer’.

The latter is ‘characterized by idea generation where a large set of apt, novel or interesting responses would be suitable’ – in other words, creativity The study found that caffeine improves convergent thinking but had ‘no significant impact on divergent thinking’.

During the study, 80 volunteers were given either a 200mg caffeine pill which was equivalent to one strong cup of coffee or a placebo. Their convergent and divergent thinking, working memory and mood was then tested. ‘The 200mg enhanced problem solving significantly, but had no effect on creative thinking,’ said Zabelina.

‘It also didn’t make it worse, so keep drinking your coffee; it won’t interfere with these abilities.’ Caffeine also boosted people’s moods, with people who took the pill reporting lower levels of sadness and boosted feelings of happiness.

(with inputs from Metro)

Publish Date : 08 March 2020 22:26 PM

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