Effects of Caffeine Discussed

April 24, 2012

ALLIANCE, Ohio — “The Effects of Caffeine on Memory and Attention” was one of many topics discussed during the University of Mount Union’s fifth annual SCHOLAR Day, held Tuesday, April 17.

SCHOLAR Day stands for Student Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research and is a campus-wide day filled with presentations showcasing academic excellence and scholarly research conducted by Mount Union students. Three formal presentation sessions and one poster session were included this year, highlighting 34 formal presentations and 63 speakers during three hour-long sessions. There were also 16 posters on display this year, with 26 students standing by to talk about their projects.

The annual event gives students a chance to share their latest academic research with faculty, staff, students, family, friends and the surrounding communities.

“The Effects of Caffeine on Memory and Attention” presentation was given by students Elizabeth Bauer, a senior cognitive and behavioral neuroscience major of Allison Park, PA; Brooke Tonero, a senior cognitive and behavioral neuroscience major of Cambridge, OH; John Piechuta, a senior cognitive and behavioral neuroscience major of Alliance; Rachel Brady, a senior cognitive and behavioral neuroscience major of Newton Falls, OH and Abigail Yahraus, a senior psychology major of Willoughby, OH. Their research project was sponsored by Kristine Turko, associate professor of psychology.

According to group members, caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug. Because caffeine is so readily available, many people don’t realize it is a drug. The use of caffeine is especially prevalent among college students, who often consume it with the idea that it will help them perform better on exams and assignments.

The group did a study on 28 Mount Union students who are daily caffeine users, measuring reaction time as doses of caffeine were given to students. Participants were asked to perform tasks before and after taking caffeine pills. Students hypothesized that reaction time would increase as the caffeine dose increased and found that reaction time decreased at 200 and 400 mg dosages. Limitations to the study, according to students, included a limited age group and the use of two different locations for the research — participants may have been distracted, thus affecting the results.

SCHOLAR Day, which began in 2008, highlights the research projects of Mount Union’s undergraduate students. The continued success of this academic tradition is made possible through the generous support of George ’58 and Sally (Shrake ’59) Stradley of Hartville, OH and the Donald and Alice Noble Foundation of Wooster, OH.

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