The Effects of Caffeine on Memory Recall

Published: 2021-06-30 04:38:57
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Boston College
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Caffeine is considered as the most widely used drug globally, and its main source is coffee. However, it has significant biopsychological effects, including its effect on memory recall. A study conducted by Johnson-Kozlow et al. (2002) revealed that caffeinated coffee intake was associated with better scores on various tests, as well as increased cognitive performance in women compared to men. However, the trend was stronger for lifetime coffee intake compared with current coffee intake for those women aged 80 and above. Similar effects were not observed with decaffeinated coffee. In Johnson-Kozlow et al. (2002) study, involved participants aged 5-80 years, and they were subjected to 12 standardized tests for the short term, cognitive functioning, and long-term memory while tracking current and lifetime caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee consumption. It was revealed that caffeine had more effect on women compared to men. Angelucci et al. (2002) also noted that caffeine administration increases memory retrieval capability for rats, The same can be observed for humans because continued intake of caffeine enhances the ability of a person to recall, and thus, improves memory. In their study, it was revealed rats once they were given smaller doses of caffeine in small doses before the Morris maze test had better memory recall. For this reason, the researchers concluded that caffeine had a significant effect on memory improvement at smaller doses.

In another experiment conducted by Lanini, Galduroz, and Pompeia (2015), cognitive and attentive aspects were improved after the intake of caffeine. In essence, Lanini, Galduroz, and Pompeias (2015) experiment investigated whether there was an improvement in cognitive ability after taking caffeine, and it was tested on 60 males. The tests were placebo and caffeine fasting, as well as caffeine and placebo meal. The study revealed that caffeine made people less worn-out and exhausted, as well as making them more attentive and aware. Besides, Borota et al. (2014) showed that caffeine enriches memory association. Also, Nehlig (2010) pointed out that caffeine is a cognitive enhancer as it increases memory and brain activity. On the other hand, Whitney et al. (1997) highlighted that caffeine increases cardiovascular functioning, improves performance, and mood, and above all, increases memory recall after ingesting. Paulus et al. (2015) supported Whitney et al.s (1997) findings that indeed if caffeine powder is consumed, primarily without sugar, it results in mood and cognitive improvements, as well as increasing performance in such tasks for up to 2.5 hours, but its effects can be felt as long as five hours after consumption. In the study, sixty college students had been randomly selected and divided into four groups, three caffeine groups, and the remaining group being placebo, with each having 15 students. It measured mood, reaction time, blood glucose, as well as electroencephalogram (ECG). It was revealed that indeed caffeine improved the level of alertness, happiness, and focus. Besides, Hogervorst et al. (1998) highlighted the importance of caffeine in improving alertness level, as well as memory recall. In addition, Erikson et al. (1985) also noted some benefits of caffeine when it comes to memory recall of word lists. Caffeine, in their study, induced an increased capability of improving the cognitive ability of the participants, and this it was deduced that indeed caffeine improves memory. The results were supported by Terry and Phifers (1986) study, which highlighted that caffeine improves Auditory-Verbal Learning Test (AVLT), which is a test for assessing recall of a list of words on a single and multiple trial format.


Angelucci, M. E. M., Cesario, C., Hiroi, R. H., Rosalen, P. L., & Cunha, C. D. (2002). Effects of caffeine on learning and memory in rats tested in the Morris water maze. Brazilian Journal of medical and biological Research, 35(10), 1201-1208.

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Lanini, J., Galduroz, J. C. F., & Pompeia, S. (2015). Acute personalized habitual caffeine doses improve attention and have selective effects when considering the fractionation of executive functions. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 31(1), 29-43.

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Paulus, R., Ross, A., Titus, L., Chen, R., Bridges, M. C., & Woodward, S. (2015). Impact of various caffeine vehicles on mood and cognitive, neurpological and physiological functions over five hours. Ohio Journal of Science, 12-23.

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