Effects of Caffeine Ingestion on Cognitive Performance after Maximal Anaerobic Activity

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Maureen Dunn, Hope College

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Caffeine may serve as a stimulus to improve psychomotor ability following high intensity exercise. The study was designed to determine whether a 5mg/kg caffeine supplement would provide any improvement in cognitive ability following the Wingate Anaerobic Test (WaNT) and any increase in peak and mean power during the WaNT. Hope College students (n=15), ages 18-22 performed two randomized, double-blind WaNT trials, one with caffeine and one with a placebo, one week apart. Cognitive ability was evaluated following the WaNT by measuring reaction times during Stroop and Simon tests on a computer. It was hypothesized that caffeine would not significantly increase peak and mean power, but that it would increase cognitive ability following the WaNT. Caffeine had no effect on peak power, mean power or cognitive ability. There was a difference in mean power output (p=.007) between the two trials, but the difference was attributed to time of testing. Mean power during the first trial (625.5 +/- 40.3 watts) was greater than mean power during the second trial (593.8 +/- 39.2 watts). A difference in cognitive ability (p=.003) during the Stroop test, when the font name differed from the font color, was noted as well. This difference was also attributed to the time of testing. Mean reaction time during the first trial of the Stroop test (820.1 +/- 49.2 milliseconds) was slower than reaction time during the second trial (718.9 +/- 44.1 milliseconds). Although caffeine did not affect power or cognitive ability following maximal anaerobic exercise in this pilot study, minimal evidence from other studies exists to draw definitive conclusions.

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