Coffee boosts women’s brainpower, but sends men into meltdown

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

LONDON - A new study by psychologists at Bristol University suggests that women should swap herbal teas for strong coffee if they want to get ahead of their male counterparts at work.

The study found drinking caffeinated coffee boosts a woman’s performance in stressful situations but has the opposite effect on men, reports the Telegraph.

They become less confident and take longer to complete tasks once they have downed several cups of coffee.

Caffeine in coffee is a known stimulant, which works on the brain and can combat drowsiness and fatigue.

But researchers wanted to examine what coffee does to the body when it is already under stress, especially when large quantities are consumed in high-pressure meetings.

They recruited 64 men and women and put them in same-sex pairs. Each pair was given a range of tasks to complete, including carrying out negotiations, completing puzzles and tackling memory tasks.

To add to their stress, they were told they would also have to give a public presentation relating to their tasks.

Researchers then gave the pairs either caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee and monitored them throughout the experiment.

They found the men’s ability to perform well under stress was ‘greatly impaired’ if they had drunk the caffeinated coffee.

For example, they took an average of 20 seconds longer to complete puzzles than those on the decaffeinated coffee.

Women, on contrary, completed them 100 seconds faster if they had been given caffeine.

Experts think the key to coffee’s effects on the sexes lies in the way men and women respond differently to stress.

The study has been published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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