Caffeine is good for problem-solving; terrible for creativity
Your morning cup of coffee is doing wonders for your ability to problem solve, but it isn’t doing you any favours when it comes to creativity.
That’s according to a new study, carried out by researchers at the University of Arkansas.
The study recruited 80 volunteers and gave them either a caffeine pill, a cup of coffee or a placebo. The researchers then tested participants ‘divergent thinking’ or problem-solving skills.
The findings – published in a medical journal – showed that the caffeine pill appeared to improve the problem-solving abilities of those tested. However, it did little when it comes to creativity.
People who took the caffeine pill also said they felt better, and registered as being ‘less sad’ than non-caffeine users.
Caffeine has already been proven to boost people’s alertness, vigilance and mood.
"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 Darya Zabelina, first author of the study.
"The 200mg enhanced problem-solving significantly, but had no effect on creative thinking," said Zabelina. "It also didn't make it worse, so keep drinking your coffee; it won't interfere with these abilities