If you want a brain power boost when you're feeling stressed, drink a cup of coffee--the real stuff, not decaffeinated.
There's just one big catch: It only works for women. In fact, coffee can have the opposite effect on men, sending them into a meltdown.
That's the word from researchers at England's Bristol University, who have determined that coffee improves women's brain power when they are in stressful situations. In addition, it can boost women's performance when they are working with others.
But oddly, coffee has an entirely different effect on men, impairing their memories and slowing their decision-making.
"Many meetings, including those at which military and other decisions are made, are likely to be male-dominated," psychologist and study leader Lindsay St. Claire told The Daily Mail. "Because caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, the global implications are potentially staggering."
The study: The Bristol researchers recruited 64 men and women and put them in same-sex pairs. Each pair was given a variety of tasks to complete, including carrying out negotiations, completing puzzles and tackling memory challenges. Each pair was told that upon completion of the tasks, they would have to give a public presentation. Half the pairs were given decaffeinated coffee, while the others consumed coffee that contained a big shot of caffeine.
- Women who consumed the caffeinated coffee completed the puzzles 100 seconds faster than those who drank the decaf.
- Men who drank the caffeinated coffee had greatly impaired performance on the memory tests and took, on average, 20 seconds longer to complete the puzzles, compared with those who drank the decaf.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
--From the Editors at Netscape