Effect of Caffeine on Memory

psychpost | 6/02/2011 04:26:00 PM

"In humans, caffeine acts as a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, temporarily warding off drowsiness and restoring alertness."

This sounds really good especially since we live in a fast paced world in which we must perform many tasks and have little time to rest. But what effect does caffeine have on our formation of short term and long term memories?

Short term Memory

One of the effects of caffeine is the increase in attention and energy. For some individuals, these effects cause them to perform better in tasks that require short term memory.

However, research consensus indicates an "inhibitory effect, reducing the capacity of our short-term memory and working memory".

Subjects who are not regular caffeine consumers are more likely to experience negative memory effects. While regular caffeine drinkers are more likely to only experience memory benefits from caffeine.

Long Term Memory

Caffeine seems to have a positive effect on long term memory regarding tasks that require a quick recall. Caffeine seems to have more more negative effects on tasks requiring patience and waiting.


An individual who is undergoing a caffeine withdrawal may experience negative effects on short term and long term memory. Caffeine withdrawal may cause lower attention, headaches, and fatigues. Acquisition of new memory would be very difficult under these conditions.

So as we have seen, caffeine seems to have different effects depending on the task at hand. To take full advantage of this powerful substance we must first learn how our bodies react to it.


PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/puuikibeach/

41 responses to "Effect of Caffeine on Memory"

  1. Thanks, didn't know that!

  2. I think I am just going to avoid caffeine when it comes to tasks I need to perform mentally in. It's better just to get good sleep and eat well than to drug out. :P

  3. I use caffeine daily, some times a little bit too much I think... But I can't stop it :p

  4. Caffeine does horrible things to me, yet another reason to stay away.

  5. I don't even worry about the withdrawal, I really love coffee :)

  6. thanks for this post, informative as always. I love coffee and soda, but it seems like I'm really sensitive to caffeine.

  7. Lovin this. Very informative and keeps my interest. Lookin forward to more, man

  8. regardless of how good or bad caffeine is for me, i'll still hold it near and dear to my heart xD

  9. I had no idea caffeine had that kind of effect on you.

  10. I love coffee don't get me wrong but I wouldn't regularly drink caffeine even if it supposedly helped memory. Still bad for the body! I'll stick to blueberries and ginko.

  11. A very interesting post. I have been searching for research on this subject for ages. When I was learning a different script based language I found that if I drank coffee an hour or two before my lesson I read much slower, my brain could read fast but I could not link the characters with the sounds quick enough. For me it seems to inhibit whatever part of the brain us used in language comprehension and vocabulary recall. Never met anyone who has the same problem though so I just assumed it was just me.

  12. I personally love the effects of caffeine, especially caffeine in the pill form

  13. Didn't realise that was the case. Just started drinking more coffee/tea so I hope my memory isn't affected.

  14. Caffeine is a real Drug. A real POWERFUL Drug

  15. didn't know about the withdrawals.. kinda scary

  16. Reading this made me feel better about all of the coffee i drank at the end of this past semester lol =P.

  17. so Caffeine is like a drung.. good 2 know that.. thanks for sharing

  18. I avoid the stuff.

  19. I've been addicted to caffeine for a loooong time, & my memory is awful! I love it because I get migraine headaches, & a huge dose of caffeine knocks them out.

  20. I stopped drinking caffeine during exam time out of fear of its effects on memory. From the looks of it though it might actually help long term memory? wow

  21. I avoid it, I don't drink coffee.

  22. always nice to learn from the internet

  23. Looks like I'll need to continue my regular caffeine dose.

  24. I know a lot of people that without caffeine they begin to go crazy...not a good addiction.

  25. Awesome post man! great blog!

  26. Good info as usual - what about caffeine coupled with other ingredients of energy drinks - like Red Bull?

  27. that's pretty interesting but there's no way i'd give up on coffee :|

  28. I love caffeine, yesterday I've had 5 coffees.

  29. It's too late for me. I'm hooked and nothing can unhook me.

  30. morning coffee is my favorite

  31. gives me a good reason to drink coffee

  32. i take like 2 cups at work, i hope is not much

  33. I'll keep this in mind tomorrow morning. :P

  34. I have never really felt the effects of caffeine before. I never feel jittery or anything. Is it just me or what?

  35. I guess my 3-cup morning is justified then. Awesome!

  36. This is great!

  37. I drink caffinated beverages at least once a day, it's addicting.

  38. guess its too late for me to start drinking caffeine then, exams in a few days :( good blog though, following this for sure

  39. I drink a lot of coffee myself (around 7-10 cups a day of fairly strong stuff).
    Interestingly I find my short term memory's a bit bad (could be due to something else in my lifestyle though).

  40. I don't like coffee. Tea is much better :)

  41. i just love coffee ! :D

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