US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — American psychologists analyzed the effect of caffeine on the way of thinking and found that this substance activates the so-called convergent thinking, which is responsible for finding specific solutions.
The results of the study are published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.
Coffee is the most common psychotropic product in the world.
For example, in the United States, 85 percent of adults drink at least one cup of coffee a day. It is known that caffeine increases the concentration of attention, motor and emotional tone, but its effect on creative thinking and the person’s ability to find a solution to a problem or a way out of the situation has not been previously studied.
Psychologists Darya Zabelina from the University of Arkansas and Paul Silvia from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro studied how caffeine affects two types of human thinking – convergent and divergent.
The first is responsible for finding a specific solution to the problem, finding one “correct” answer. The second, on the contrary, creates a stream of ideas, generates a set of interesting and original solutions. It is typical for creative people.
“In Western cultures, caffeine is stereotyped associated with creative activities and lifestyle. A writer is represented more often with a coffee in his hand, and a programmer with an energy drink,” the words of the first author of the article, Darya Zabelina, assistant professor of psychology, are quoted in a press release from Arkansas University.
For the study, 80 volunteers were selected who daily received randomly either a 200 milligram caffeine tablet equivalent to one cup of strong coffee or a placebo. Then they passed standard tests to assess the levels of convergent and divergent thinking, working memory and mood.
The results showed that caffeine does not affect divergent thinking, that is, it does not stimulate creativity. But it increases the ability to concentrate and solve problems.
“Two hundred milligrams of caffeine significantly improved problem solving, but did not affect creative thinking, nor did it worsen the situation, so keep drinking coffee, it won’t interfere with your abilities,” says Zabelina.
Scientists also note that caffeine did not have a significant effect on working memory, but it improved mood.
According to the authors, the positive effect of caffeine on the ability to find a solution is consistent with its other already proven cognitive benefits – the ability to increase alertness, alertness, concentration, and the fact that caffeine is a stimulant of motor and brain activity.
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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.