Caffeine increases problem-solving ability, but not creativity

Hyperaxion Mar 25, 2020

Research conducted in the USA shows that the stimulating component of coffee helps in concentration, but does not make us more creative.

A new study from the University of Arkansas, in the United States, published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, indicates that caffeine increases concentration, but does not stimulate creativity.

Although the benefits of caffeine – such as greater agility, focus and better performance – are well established, Darya Zabelina, author of the study, says that little is known about the effect of the stimulant on creativity.

In the article, Zabelina separates our thinking in “convergent” and “divergent”. The first is defined as the search for a specific solution to a problem. The second is characterized by the generation of new ideas. According to the results, caffeine has been shown to improve convergent thinking, but has not had a significant impact on divergent thinking.


To conduct the study, 80 volunteers were randomly assigned a 200-milligram caffeine pill, equivalent to a cup of strong coffee. They were 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 participants reported feeling less sad.

“The 200 mg increased problem-solving significantly, but had no effect on creative thinking,” says Zabelina, in a statement. This does not mean you need to stop drinking your coffee every day: the study did not, on the other hand, show a worsening of creative ability. “So, keep drinking your coffee; it will not interfere with these skills,” guarantees the researcher.

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