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Physiol Behav. 1987;41(1):25-30.

The effects of caffeine, impulsivity, and sex on memory for word lists.

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  • 1Psychology Department, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks 58202.


The present study examined the effects of caffeine on memory for supraspan word lists. Twelve groups of male and female college students classified as high or low impulsive received either 0, 2, or 4 mg/kg of caffeine. Female subjects were tested only during the menstrual phase of their cycle and were not taking oral contraceptives. Subjects listened to 12 word lists presented at one of four rates. Caffeine facilitated recall in females after practice with the task, but impaired recall in males only at the medium dose. The observed effects of caffeine were not influenced by subject's verbal ability, typical amount of caffeine consumption, or level of impulsivity. The results suggest that the effects of caffeine on females may vary according to the level of estrogen in the subject's system.

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