Happy National Coffee Day! Did you know that caffeine has a positive effect on memory?
Recent Johns Hopkins University research indicates that caffeine may enhance long-term memory. Participants who were given 200-miligram caffeine tablets after studying a series of images were better at distinguishing these same images from similar ones when tested the next day.
“We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects, but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans,” said senior author Michael Yassa, an assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University.
This double-blind study was designed to reveal a deeper interaction between memory and caffeine. “If we used a standard recognition memory task without these tricky similar items, we would have found no effect of caffeine,” said Yassa. “However, using these items requires the brain to make a more difficult discrimination—what we call pattern separation, which seems to be the process that is enhanced by caffeine in our case.”