Shulder, R., Hall, E. E., & Miller, P. (2013). The influence of exercise and caffeine on cognitive function in college students. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2369.

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This study examined the impact of caffeine and exercise, independently and combined, on cognitive function in college students (M = 3; F = 12). Ss were recreationally active and low-caffeine consumers. Ss came to the laboratory on five occasions. During the first session, they completed a graded-exercise test on a cycle ergometer to determine ventilatory threshold. The following four sessions involved supplementation and exercise. During these, each S engaged in 30 minutes of cycling (at 90% ventilatory threshold) or 30 minutes of quiet reading after consuming either caffeine (at 4 mg/kg body weight) or a placebo. The Contingent Continuous Performance Task and Wisconsin Card Sorting Task were used to measure cognitive function and were completed five minutes and twenty minutes after exercise or quiet reading.

There were no significant differences between false alarms in the Contingent Continuous Performance Task between conditions or total number of errors in the Wisconsin Card Sort. Reaction time was faster in the conditions containing caffeine than in the placebo group with the fastest reaction time seen in the caffeine plus exercise group.

Implication. The effects of caffeine and exercise are cumulative and may improve cognitive function more together than either does separately.

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