Opinion: Coffee and Other Caffeine-Rich Drinks Enhances Problem Solving Ability but Not Creativity


A recent study conducted by a researcher from the University of Arkansas, on "the effects of caffeine on problem-solving and creative thinking", showed that caffeine enhances the ability to focus and solve problems.

Coffee has for a long time been stereotypically associated with creative lifestyles and occupations, with it being a favorite drink for most writers, programmers, and artists.

According to Darya Zabelina, a psychologist assistant professor and the author of the paper, the belief that caffeine improves creativity isn't true.

Zabelina argues that while the cognitive advantages of caffeine such as; improvement in motor performance, increased alertness, and heightened vigilance have been sufficiently proved, its impact on creativity is less known.

In the research article, Zabelina explains the difference between "divergent" and "convergent" thinking.

She describes convergent thinking as the act of finding a particular solution for a particular problem. For example, finding the right answer for a certain question.

Regarding divergent thinking, she describes it as idea generation thoughts, comprising of a large set of novel, apt, and interesting solutions.

From the research, it was established that caffeine boosts' "convergent thinking", but has no significant effect on divergent thoughts.

According to the article, there were 80 study participants, some of whom were given a 200mg caffeine pill (equal to a cup of strong coffee) while others were given a placebo.

They were then examined on standard measures of divergent and convergent thinking, mood, and working memory.

Apart from the insignificant findings on creativity, the results also showed that caffeine has no significant impact on a persons' mood and working memory.

However, the findings also showed a positive association between caffeine and problem-solving. And although it did not have a notable impact on creative thinking, it didn't make it worse either.

So, if you are a coffee lover, you need to stock up on coffee and keep drinking, as it doesn't have a negative effect on your creative or convergent thinking.

David-the-Scribe operanews-external@opera.com

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