Caffeine is a popular stimulant often used to counter the effects of sleep loss and fatigue. Withdrawal from caffeine may produce mild declines in simple cognitive capacities such as attention and concentration, but it is unclear whether more complex cognitive functions, such as abstract reasoning or concept formation, may be similarly affected. To assess the effect of acute caffeine withdrawal on executive functioning during sleep deprivation, 26 healthy volunteers were administered in double-blind form either repeated doses of caffeine or placebo over two nights of continuous wakefulness. The 108-item Short Category Test was administered after 56 hr. of total sleep deprivation (9 hr. post-caffeine administration). The caffeine group scored significantly more poorly, making approximately 57% more errors on the test than the placebo group. These findings suggest that acute caffeine withdrawal during prolonged sleep deprivation has an adverse effect on abstract reasoning and concept formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems