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Caffeine may boost problem-solving ability

Caffeine may boost problem-solving ability

Caffeine increases the ability to focus and solve problem, but it doesn't stimulate creativity, according to a new study. While the cognitive benefits of caffeine – increased alertness, improved vigilance, enhanced focus and improved motor performance – are well established, the stimulant's affect on creativity is less known.

"In Western cultures, caffeine is stereotypically associated with creative occupations and lifestyles, from writers and their coffee to programmers and their energy drinks, and there's more than a kernel of truth to these stereotypes," said study researcher Darya Zabelina, Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas in the US.

In the study, the researchers differentiates "convergent" from "divergent" thinking. The former is defined as seeking a specific solution to a problem. The latter is characterised by idea generation where a large set of apt, novel or interesting responses would be suitable.

Caffeine was shown to improve convergent thinking in the study, while consuming it had no significant impact on divergent thinking.

For the study, 80 volunteers were randomly given either a 200mg caffeine pill, equivalent to one strong cup of coffee, or a placebo.

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