Does Coffee Hurt Creativity?

Say it ain’t so.

I’m way too far down the I-need-coffee-before-I-can-think-straight-and-work-at-all cycle of dependency to give this much thought as a practical, actionable matter: but it is still interesting.

The research takes two things I already believe to be true about creativity.

First, you need to let your mind wander and play with ideas in order to make new connections. Coffee is all about focus.

Second, sleep is important to consolidate those new thoughts, ideas and memories. Coffee interferes with sleep.

And of course there’s that whole annoying placebo effect thing.

In a 2011 study at the University of East London, a group of psychologists examined the effects of caffeine on problem-solving ability and emotional responses. In the double-blind study, eighty-eight habitual coffee drinkers were given cups of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee at random. Half were told that they were receiving regular coffee, and half were informed that they were given decaf.

Each participant then completed tasks that measured things like reaction time, self-control, reward motivation, and mood. In the Stroop task, which measures reaction time, improved accuracy was observed in subjects who believed they had ingested caffeinated coffee, even if they had only consumed decaf. Subjects who received caffeine and were told they were drinking decaf did not show an improved reaction time.

Read the whole article: Does Coffee Curb Creativity? {andrew sullivan}.

Read more on coffee {this blog}.