Will a jolt of java get your creative juices flowing?

accreditation

Your morning cup of coffee may help your focus and problem-solving skills, but it won't kick-start your creativity, a new study says.

"In Western cultures, caffeine is stereotypically associated with creative occupations and lifestyles, from writers and their coffee to programmers and their energy drinks, and there's more than a kernel of truth to these stereotypes," said study first author Darya Zabelina, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas.

Increased alertness, heightened vigilance, greater focus and improved motor performance are known to be associated with caffeine, but its impact on creativity is less known, Zabelina noted.

She and her colleagues assessed the effects of caffeine on 80 volunteers' convergent and divergent thinking, working memory and mood. Convergent thinking is used in problem-solving while divergent thinking is used in creativity.

Keep drinking your coffee

Volunteers were given either a 200mg caffeine pill – equivalent to one cup of strong coffee – or a placebo. Caffeine improved convergent thinking but had no real impact on divergent thinking.

Researchers also found that caffeine didn't significantly affect working memory, but it appeared to affect mood – those who took it reported feeling less sad, according to the study in the March issue of the journal Consciousness and Cognition.

"The 200 mg [of caffeine] enhanced problem-solving significantly, but had no effect on creative thinking," Zabelina said in a university news release. "It also didn't make it worse, so keep drinking your coffee; it won't interfere with these abilities."

READ | How much coffee is OK?

READ | Here's what happens to your body when you drink coffee

SEE | The pros and cons of drinking coffee

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Gauteng DA leader Solly Msimanga says the party's voters want it to explore conditional coalition talks with the ANC. 
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
It's a step in the right direction. An ANC-DA coalition would be the most stable option for SA
33% - 2781 votes
The DA should focus on working with all opposition parties, including the EFF, to unseat the ANC
15% - 1242 votes
The DA should rather remain in opposition than form a coalition with the ANC or the EFF
52% - 4406 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.09
-0.4%
Rand - Pound
20.66
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.80
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.54
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.0%
Gold
1,754.60
0.0%
Silver
21.61
0.0%
Palladium
1,856.61
0.0%
Platinum
984.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
83.63
-2.0%
Top 40
66,754
-0.0%
All Share
73,151
+0.0%
Resource 10
71,441
-0.1%
Industrial 25
87,347
-0.2%
Financial 15
16,370
+0.4%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE