Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Carol Britson

Relational Format

.

Abstract

Caffeine has often been associated with college students and their study habits; however, little research has been done to explore if it is actually beneficial to the students’ cognitive performance and academic success. While current studies have explored various aspects of caffeine’s influence on specific areas of cognition relevant to their own studies, there is a lack of research on how it influences academic settings. Within the present study, it is believed that caffeine usage will not cause a significant improvement in individual academic performance despite of the known physiological and cognitive effects on the students. The study consisted of two phases. Phase one sought to survey students in a Human Anatomy and Physiology course in order to create a demographic profile of students’ caffeine consumption habits. Phase two consisted of a food diary, used for students to record both food and beverage over a 24-hour period to calculate caffeine usage, and a quiz based off profiles of University of Mississippi alumni in order to assess cognitive abilities and academic performance. There was a significant relationship between total caffeine intake over the 24-hour period, the peak amount of caffeine consumed in a single hour, and the number of hours between the peak consumption event and when the quiz was taken, and quiz score. Linear regression Regression analysis showed that 30% of variation in quiz score is affected by peak amount of caffeine consumed in a single hour and the number of hours between the

peak consumption event and when the quiz was taken. Results from viewing the students’ perception of caffeine in relation to schoolwork and cognition lean more toward the attitude that caffeine consumption is in fact not beneficial to overall academic and cognitive enhancement. While students reported mixed ideas on whether or not they believe caffeine to be beneficial based off the phase one survey, conclusions from phase 2 results cannot draw a direct link between caffeine consumption and positive increase in cognitive abilities or academic performance.

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