Have you ever noticed that while Jennifer comes back from a coffee break feeling bright and energetic, Jared returns feeling sluggish and confused?
According to a new British study, this makes perfect sense: Researchers from Bristol University found that drinking coffee improves women's brain power in stressful situations, but sends men into a meltdown.
With caffeine being the most widely consumed drug in the world -- Brits alone drink close to 70 million cups of coffee each day, and U.S. workers consume at least five times as much -- researchers say the implications are "potentially staggering." They point out that many important decisions, including those made by military leaders, are often made in meetings fueled by coffee.
The study was originally conducted to find out about the effects of coffee on a body already under stress. They recruited 64 men and women as test subjects, putting them in same-sex pairs. Each pair was then given a number of tasks to complete -- such as negotiating, doing puzzles and taking memory tests -- and were told that, upon completion, they would give a presentation relating to their tasks. Half of the pairs were given decaf coffee, while the other half received cups containing a large shot of caffeine.
Results of the study showed that men who drank the caffeinated coffee were greatly impaired in memory tests, and took an average of 20 seconds longer to complete puzzles than the decaf drinkers.
But women completed the puzzles an astonishing 100 seconds faster if they'd been given caffeinated coffee, according to the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
Could this be a harbinger of coffee machines in the ladies lounge? Men being forced to check their coffee cups at the door? Starbucks refurbishing with more female-friendly decor? There is no end to the possibilities.
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