Honors Theses


Susan T. Davis, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


Past research concerning caffeine and its effects on memory have yielded varying results. One study found that a 3-mg/kg dose of caffeine decreased reaction time during a selective attention task. However, this improvement was only found during a low display load, with no effect on reaction time occurring within a high display load (Lorist, Snell, Kok, & Mulder,1996). As such, the effects of caffeine may be dependent on a variety of other factors, such as the difficulty of the task at hand (Nehlig, 2004). This present study aimed to explore further the potential memory-enhancing qualities of caffeine with respect to spatial working memory. In order to test for any possible effects, a matched-pairs design was conducted to compare the number of errors committed, amount of moves taken, and time till task completion between a placebo and experimental group as the participants completed a series of levels within a computerized version of the popular puzzle game, Rush Hour (Di Vece, 2001). Repeated-measures ANOVAs (N=20) showed no significant effects of condition for any of the variables of performance studied. However, a trend analysis to examine potential changes over time with respect to condition was not conducted. A separate measure to assess any stress incurred (Dundee Stress State Questionnaire) was also used in this study. Further analysis using the data collected from this questionnaire is set to be conducted at a later date.

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Undergraduate research



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