New research shows that drinking caffeinated coffee gives women a mental boost but “scrambles men’s thinking,” impairing their memory and bogging down their decision-making skills. The study consisted of taking 64 men and women and asking them to complete a range of tasks from puzzles and memory challenges to negotiating business deals. Half were given decaf coffee and half were given regular coffee with a large shot of caffeine. To add an element of ‘stress under pressure’ all the participants were told they’d have to give a public presentation about the experience as soon as they were finished.
The results were surprising: the women drinking caffeine did much better than the women on decaf, but the men drinking caffeine were “greatly impaired” compared to those on decaf. For example: the caffeinated women performed the puzzle section an average of 100 seconds faster than the decaffeinated women, but the caffeinated guys took an average of 20 seconds longer than their decaffeinated counterparts.
I don’t know quite what to do with this information other than to be happy I’m a woman (I do love my coffee), and I’ll probably be more sympathetic next time I see a guy in a coffee shop struggling to operate the napkin dispenser.