Using caffeine as a tool to study information processing

Summary: Study reveals caffeine may be a useful tool to study information and cognitive processing.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert Inc

Researchers are using caffeine to study how the brain processes information, and a new study shows the effectiveness of this approach. A placebo-controlled study in adults, which uses a simple Go/NoGo task, is published in Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research.

The article entitled “Caffeine as a Tool to Explore Active Cognitive Processing Stages in Two-Choice Tasks” was coauthored by Robert Barry, Jack Fogarty, and Frances De Blasio , University of Wollongong, Australia. In the cross-over study, one group of adults was given 250 mg of caffeine before completing a Go/NoGo task, in which they heard one of two tones. If they heard the “Go” target tone, they were to push a button. If they heard the “NoGo” tone they had to process that information and not push the button. The researchers used electroencephalography to measure event-related potential components and explore sequential processing in the individuals with and without caffeine. The study produced a number of novel outcomes, showing caffeine to be a useful tool.

This shows a cup of coffee

The researchers used electroencephalography to measure event-related potential components and explore sequential processing in the individuals with and without caffeine. Image is in the public domain.

“A particularly significant finding of this study, performed in adults, is the qualitatively different effect of caffeine during the processing of a Go/NoGo task as compared to the results of a previous study by the same research group in children, providing new clues about the different cognitive strategies used by adults and children and their dependence on the adenosine system,” says Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research Editor-in-Chief Sergi Ferré, MD, PhD, Chief of the Integrative Neurobiology Section at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD.

About this neuroscience research article

Source:
Mary Ann Liebert Inc
Media Contacts:
Kathryn Ryan – Mary Ann Liebert Inc
Image Source:
The image is in the public domain.

Original Research: Open access
“Caffeine as a Tool to Explore Active Cognitive Processing Stages in Two-Choice Tasks”. Robert J. Barry, Jack S. Fogarty, and Frances M. De Blasio.
Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research doi:10.1089/caff.2019.0021.

Abstract

Caffeine as a Tool to Explore Active Cognitive Processing Stages in Two-Choice Tasks

Background: We used caffeine as a tool to explore the active cognitive-processing stages in a simple Go/NoGo task, in terms of the event-related potential (ERP) components elicited by the Go and NoGo stimuli.

Methods: Two hundred and fifty milligrams of caffeine was administered to adult participants (N = 24) in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled repeated-measures crossover study. Two blocks of an equiprobable auditory Go/NoGo task were completed, each with a random mix of 75 tones at 1000 Hz and 75 at 1500 Hz, all 60 dB sound pressure level (SPL).

Results: Major ERP effects of caffeine were apparent in enhancements of the Go N1-1, P3b, and Slow Wave (SW), and the NoGo Processing Negativity, SW, and NoGo Late Positivity.

Conclusions: Novel differential findings indicate the potential of our caffeine as a tool approach to elucidate the functional nature of ERP markers of active cognitive processing in a range of developmental and clinical populations.

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