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Study: Coffee Makes Women Smarter, Men Slower

A small study in England has come up with some surprising results, results that we’d really like to see tested on a larger scale.

From the Daily Mail:

They recruited 64 men and women and put them in same-sex pairs. Each pair was given a range of tasks to complete, including carrying out negotiations, completing puzzles and tackling memory challenges, and told they would have to give a public presentation relating to their tasks afterwards.

Everyone in the study was given decaf coffee to drink, but one coffee cup in each pair was doctored with a shot of caffeine.  The researchers had intended to study the effects disparity in levels of caffeination on teamwork.  Instead, they unexpectedly found that in their groups of 64, women seemed to become smarter after drinking coffee, and men seemed to become dumber.

The subjects were asked to complete socially stressful and/or cognitive tasks like negotiating, puzzles, and memory excercises, and were told that they’d have to do a presentation on their experience afterward.  Researchers found that “women performed better than did men on collaborative tasks under stress, provided caffeine had been consumed.”

Men completed puzzles 20 seconds slower if they’d had the caffeine-laced decaf, while buzzed women completed the same puzzles 100 seconds faster.

Needless to say, I’d like to see this study repeated soon on a larger, more conclusive, scale.  And I can say this without bias because I don’t drink coffee.


(Whole study here, for subscription, story via The Daily Mail.)

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.