Friday April 10, 2020

Caffeine Does Not Stimulate Creativity: Study

Caffeine may boost problem-solving ability, not creativity

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Caffeine
affeine increases the ability to focus and solve problem, but it doesn't stimulate creativity. Pixabay

Caffeine increases the ability to focus and solve problem, but it doesn’t stimulate creativity, according to a new study. This is a health advice.

While the cognitive benefits of caffeine — increased alertness, improved vigilance, enhanced focus and improved motor performance — are well established, the stimulant’s affect on creativity is less known.

“In Western cultures, the substance 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 researcher Darya Zabelina, Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas in the US.

In the study, published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, the researchers differentiates “convergent” from “divergent” thinking. The former is defined as seeking a specific solution to a problem, for example, the “correct” answer.

Caffeine
The benefits of caffeine are, increased alertness, improved vigilance, enhanced focus and improved motor performance. Pixabay

The latter is characterised by idea generation where a large set of apt, novel or interesting responses would be suitable.

Caffeine was shown to improve convergent thinking in the study, while consuming it had no significant impact on divergent thinking.

For the study, 80 volunteers were randomly given either a 200mg caffeine pill, equivalent to one strong cup of coffee, or a placebo.

They were then tested on standard measures of convergent and divergent thinking, working memory and mood.

In addition to the results on creativity, caffeine did not significantly affect working memory, but test subjects who took it did report feeling less sad.

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“The 200mg enhanced problem solving significantly, but had no effect on creative thinking, it also didn’t make it worse, so keep drinking your coffee; it won’t interfere with these abilities.

The University of Arkansas is a public land-grant, research university in the US. (IANS)

Next Story

Focus on Your Child’s Mental Health Amid COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19: Your child's mental health during self-isolation

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child emotional crisis
Self isolation can have a negative impact on your child's mental health amid the coronavirus crisis. Pixabay

Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic.

Children perceive changes in their surroundings as early as they come into this world. It is almost impossible to keep them in the dark about the pandemic, and also inadvisable.

It’s important to focus on our littlest and youngest members of society. Meghna Yadav, Head, Training and Development, KLAY Preschools and Daycare shares tips on how you can make kids and teenagers more aware.

child emotional crisis
Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic. Pixabay

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Provide age-appropriate information

It is not advisable to share all possible data and reports about the pandemic with children, but not sharing any information is not a wise decision either. So, the very first measure that adults need to follow is to provide age appropriate information to them. Providing facts to avoid confusion/misconceptions and explaining safety measures taken by family will help children stay focused on their contribution in fighting this virus.

‘Act like a soldier’

Children might feel helpless and anxious about the lockdown and the changes in routine. The best way to keep the positivity high in children is to provide them the feeling of being little soldiers fighting a battle, rather than the ones who are under threat. “To beat the virus, we need to stay indoors” is a better explanation of social distancing than to say, “We cannot go out.”

Social distancing does not mean social isolation

Socialising is the key for happiness of children and children may be feeling disconnected with their friends and peers while maintaining social distancing. As adults, we have to keep children socially connected with wise use of technology. Video call with friends and extended family members is a wonderful solution for maintaining human connection in the time of social distancing.

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Share the load

Parents are found to be under constant stress of not only protecting the family against the pandemic but also maintaining a work life balance in the crisis. Working for professional commitments amidst family chores is not easy to sustain for long durations. Sharing the load of household work is a win-win situation in this scenario. Asking children to help in daily chores like cleaning, washing, or mopping will not only reduce your burden but will also keep children busy and physically active while staying indoors.

child emotional crisis
It is important to take care of your child’s mental health to save them from emotional crisis and trauma. Pixabay

Know the 3 Rs

The mantra of Three Rs is found to be of great help for parents to maintain emotional stability of children in crisis.

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The three Rs include :

  • Reassurance
  • Routine
  • Regulation

Reassure: Provide age appropriate information and reassure them about their safety. Talk about ways to stay safe and keep expressing that you are there for them.

Routine: Routine gives predictability to children and this ultimately leads to a sense of control about the situation. Children might have a different routine than usual but providing a new routine through time zones like activity time, screen time, family board game time, cooking time helps in reducing their anxiety.

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Regulate: Parents need to regulate their own emotions to teach children self-efficacy in tough times. Children keenly observe and absorb the way parents respond to changing landscapes. So, parents need to be role models for children by staying strong and calm in turmoil.

It is natural to have higher degrees of fear and anxiety during these uncertain times, but what matters most is to recognise what we can do and be grateful for what we have. Stay connected and maintain your social network while maintaining social distancing. (IANS)