Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coffee helps women, not men, in stressful situations

Caffeine enhances the performance of women in stressful situations, but has the opposite effect on men, according to a new study. Psychologists from the University of Bristol in Great Britain found that only a few cups of coffee are enough to throw down the confidence of men, while reducing their ability to solve problems. 
Caffeine is a stimulant drug known to counteract the drowsiness and fatigue. Furthermore previous studies have shown that it offers protection against diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, gout and diseases that attack the liver. 

This time researchers wished to study the effect of coffee drinking in both sexes, whilst they are in stressful situations, such as being in an important meeting in the office. For this purpose they separated men and women in to 64 groups in same sex pairs, giving them coffee with and without caffeine. After each pair was asked to complete a series of tests, for example carrying out negotiations or solving puzzles and memory problems. It was found that the ability of men to perform in stressful situations significantly reduced when they consumed caffeine. It took them an average of 20 seconds longer to complete puzzles, compared with those who had drunk decaffeinated coffee. On the other hand women who consumed caffeine completed the tests 100 seconds faster than the rest. The survey results can be found in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 

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