Can Coffee Help You Maintain a Sunny Outlook?
Coffee lovers, rejoice! In addition to helping jump-start your morning, a cup of Joe may also improve brain function, specifically the part of your noggin that controls the recognition of positive words, says a new study.
Researchers at Germany's Ruhr University gave 66 people a word test. Half of the subjects were given 200 milligrams of caffeine, and the others received a placebo. Then, participants watched as words with positive, negative and neutral connotations appeared on a computer screen. They were asked to identify which were actual words and which were not as quickly as possible.
Scientists have long known that people naturally identify positive words faster than negative ones. This time, researchers found that the caffeinated people more quickly identified positive words than those in the control group, leading them to believe that dopamine, which is triggered by caffeine, aids in language comprehension.
"Caffeine may either strengthen connections to regions where positive information and positive feedback are processed, so this information is more easily available during the process of word recognition," said Lars Kuchinke, a junior professor who worked on the study. "Or caffeine may simply facilitate the decision process."
In other words, java may help people process words faster and help them maintain a sunny outlook on life at the same time. Has there ever been a more compelling reason to have another cup?