Can caffeine boost your memory? According to a new study out Monday in Nature Neuroscience the answer to this question is yes. The researchers discovered that giving people caffeine after they memorized a series of pictures significantly increased their ability to remember the subtler details, compared to people who’d been given dummy pills. Before drinking ten cups of joe, be weary there is a middle ground. A 200-miligram dose of caffeine, about the amount found in a large cup of coffee, will do the trick.
The research was performed on participants who were not regular caffeine drinkers. They had their participants memorize a series of pictures. After, they were given a caffeine pill or a placebo pill. Twenty-four hours later, when the caffeine was fully out of their systems they were asked to determine which pictures in a new set had also been shown the day before per Forbes. The part that was designed to throw participants off was some of the new items were similar but not identical to the old ones, meaning participants had to recall the initial items in some amount of detail.
The results were clear, people in the caffeine group performed much better than their non-caffeinated counterparts at recognizing new items that were similar but not the same as old ones. This suggest that caffeine may influence how the brain consolidates memories.
“We’ve always known that caffeine has cognitive-enhancing effects,” said study author Michael Yassa, “but its particular effects on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting has never been examined in detail in humans. We report for the first time a specific effect of caffeine on reducing forgetting over 24 hours.”
A key part of the findings is that the caffeine was administered after the memory task rather than before it, which ensures that other caffeine-related factors, like attention, energy, or anxiety are not what’s driving the results.
So can caffeine boost your memory? It looks as though the results speak for themselves.