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Caffeine Consumption & Academic Performance

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Michelle Leung

on 4 December 2013

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Transcript of Caffeine Consumption & Academic Performance

Caffeine Consumption & Academic Performance
Hypotheses
Due to caffeine's effects of temporary alertness and wakefulness, I hypothesize that there is a positive relationship between caffeine consumption and number of hours studied
However, research indicates that caffeine does not necessarily "facilitate learning" in the long run (Loke, 1988). GPA can also be affected by other external factors. This leads me to hypothesize that there is no correlation between caffeine consumption and GPA
Introduction
Caffeine consumption is abundant in college campuses (coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, etc.)
Known to "fuel wakefulness", some students also believe that consuming caffeine can positively influence academic performance (Rogers, 2012)
Stemming from my own personal and frequent coffee-drinking habits, I decided to pursue this topic
Research Question #1
Method
13-question survey distributed via Facebook.com
KwikSurveys.com as the platform
Pros: anonymous responses, analytical & graphical data generator
Cons: possible response bias due to narrow audience exposure, but minimized as much as possible by making survey public
Questions worded consistently in same format
Instrument
Scaled response system
Initial questions asked about opinions on caffeinated drinks, followed by opinions on such drinks in relation to studying
I have trouble studying without consuming a caffeinated drink
I find caffeine to be a helpful supplement when I study
I feel that I am more productive when I consume caffeine
Research Question #2
Is there a relationship between caffeine consumption and GPA?
Is there a relationship between caffeine consumption and number of productive hours studied?
Caffeine's physical and neurological effects include "alertness and cognitive vigilance" (McIlvain, 2011)
This makes caffeine attractive to students, especially during stressful times, such as prior to an exam (Johnson-Greene, 1988)
This leads me to question if caffeine has a positive effect on academic performance
Background
Instrument
Quantitative questions
How many caffeinated drinks do you consume per week?
How many hours do you study per week?
What is your cumulative GPA?
Results
30 out of 33 said they consume caffeine at least "Occasionally"
15 of those 30 said they consume caffeine at least 4-5 times per week
Overall, consumption frequency is diverse
Results - Hypothesis 1
4 of the 5 heaviest consumers (8+ drinks per week) said they study 10+ hours per week. The fifth person studied ~9 hours
Those with lower levels of consumption did not show any significant trends
Those who consumed a moderate amount of caffeine also did not show any significant trends
Results - Hypothesis 2
Most students indicated themselves to be "B-average" (25), and these people all consumed varying amounts of caffeine
3 out of the 4 "A-average" students consume 8+ drinks per week, while the fourth student consumes none
There were no significant trends in the "C-average" or lower group
Based on these results...
Students who tend to study more hours will rely on caffeine as a supplement (yet those drink more caffeine may not necessarily study more). Moderate/low consumers do not appear to use caffeine for study purposes.

Students perform adequately in academics regardless of how much caffeine they consume. There is no visible relationship between caffeine consumption and cumulative GPA.
Other Findings
Psychological doubt?
Limitations
Acquired very diverse results that made it harder to analyze
Possible confusion of question wording (a "daily" consumer claims to experience no effects of dependency)
Potential of ironic/denial responses (see previous graphs) could prevent people from answering truthfully
Use of Facebook & KwikSurveys - not necessarily accessible to all
Conclusions
Hypotheses were supported, but not enough to imply causation
Doors for further research:
Studying the habits of students who do not consume caffeine, but perform well academically
Narrowing focus to researching caffeine consumption the night prior to an exam
References
Johnson-Greene, D., Fatis, M., Sonnek, D., & Shawchuck, C. (1988). A survey of caffeine use and associated side effects in a college population. Journal of Drug Education, 18(3), 211-220.

Loke, W. H. (1988). Caffeine consumption by college undergraduates. Psychology, 25(2), 8-11.

McIlvain, G. E., Noland, M. P., & Bickel, R. (2013). Caffeine consumption patterns and beliefs of college freshmen. American Journal of Health Education,42(4), 235-244. doi: 10.1080/19325037.2011.10599193

Rogers, P. J., Heatherly, S. V., Mullings, E. L., & Smith, J. E. (2012). Faster but not smarter: effects of caffeine and caffeine withdrawal on alertness and performance. Psychopharmacology, 226(2), 229-240.
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