Caffeine Investigation Folio Essay

1414 words - 6 pages

Caffeine Investigation Folio

Caffeine functions similarly to the hormone adrenaline (State Government of Victoria, 2014), and increases dopamine levels causing you to feel happy. It blocks adenosine receptors, which prevents you from feeling drowsy (Staci, 2012). Caffeine also stimulates the brain, improves comprehension, memory, reflexes, and the clarity of thoughts (Important Facts About Caffeine, 2011).

The focus of the experiment is to test whether caffeine has an effect on psychological and physiological reaction times. This will be a beneficial experiment for regular consumers of caffeine in determining whether the caffeine will have a positive or negative effect on their alertness and reaction time. The hypothesis tested in the experiment will be; if caffeine is consumed, then the psychological and physiological reaction times will decrease.

For the experiment, 30 female Yr. 11 Psychology students will be asked, with informed consent, to record their psychological reaction time from the Stroop test - and physiological reaction times from the Reaction Time test - with a timer, prior to and after consuming caffeine, collecting Objective Quantitative Data. After gathering the data, they will be placed in two bar graphs and interpreted.

For both the Stroop and Reaction Time Tests, it is predicted that the reaction times will decrease with caffeine. It logically follows that caffeine will cause students to become more alert. Therefore, making the conclusion that the consumption of caffeine will cause a decrease in psychological and physiological reaction times.


Figure 1- The effect of caffeine on the Reaction Test times on average


Figure 2- The effect of caffeine on the Stroop Test times on average

Shown in Figures and 1 and 2, the average psychological and physiological reaction times before caffeine consumption were longer than after caffeine consumption. The results in Figure 1 show that caffeine consumption has, on average, caused an increase in reactivity and alertness, and hence, a decrease in physiological reaction times in the Reaction Time test. The results in Figure 2 show that caffeine consumption has, on average, caused an increase in psychological arousal, and has therefore decreased the psychological reaction times of the participants in the Stroop test. The results may have been as they were, due to caffeine being a brain stimulant that increases memory, reflexes, and clearness of thoughts. This could have affected the results, as the speed of the participant’s reflexes and coherence of thought, were key aspects in determining their physiological reaction times and psychological reaction time respectively. Moreover, memory was an extraneous variable that could have caused the improvement in the sample’s psychological reaction times, as they had undergone the Stroop test previously. Thus, the participants may have recalled a proportion of the Stroop test. Also, as caffeine can prevent one from feeling tired by...

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