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The effects of caffeine on reaction time

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The effects of caffeine on reaction time Abstract: The investigation studied the effects that caffeine had on human reaction time on their mathematical skills. It was done using 20 individuals af age groups 15-18. Instant black coffee was used as the caffeine source. Their reaction times were recorded before and after consuming caffeine. The standard deviations of the reaction times were obtained and a Z-test for matched samples was carried out. The results showed significant differences in the reaction times of the individuals. It was concluded that caffeine did have an effect on the reaction time of an ndividual. Aim: My aim is to investigate the effect of caffeine on students solving maths problems. Plan: Hypothesis: My alternate hypothesis is that ingesting caffeine will have an effect on the students decreasing their reaction time. My null hypothesis is that ingesting caffeine will have no effect onther reaction time of the students. I predict that caffeine does effect the reaction time by decreasing it and so the students will solve their problems faster and would be more alert, fresh so they would probably make less mistakes. Biological Knowledge: Caffeine is medically known as trimethylxanthine. The molecular formaula of caffeine is C8H10N4O2 and has the structure as shown in Figure 1. In an isolated pure form caffeine is a white crystalline powder that tastes very bitter. Caffeine occurs naturally in plants including coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa nuts. ...read more.


When testing the students I will be giving all the students the same maths test paper. Safety procedure: There are no harmful chemicals that I will be using or any sharp instruments so there are no safety problems. However while dealing with hot coffee I will take care not to spill it on myself or the students. I will use clean and disposable cups and spoons for each student. Ethics and law: Since I carried out my investigation on the school students I was careful in choosing them. My experiment doesn't harm them physically or mentally but I had to be careful like the people will all be fit and healthy and so not have any medical problems like asthma, any allergic reactions that would put their health at risk. I carried out the experiment with the permission and supervision of a teacher. Equipment required: 1 bottle Nescafe Instant coffee sugar disposable glasses disposable spoons stopwatch Method: I did the test for each student separately. Before giving the students the test I made them not do any kindof work, just sit down in their chair and relax for 5 minutes so that they wont get tensed abd stressed. First I did a test for all the students when they had consumed no caffeine. I gave them the test and timed each individual separately using a stopwatch. ...read more.


the Z critical value is between 1.644853 which is less than the Z test value 9.98 so I reject my null hypothesis. Final conclusion: I now come to my final conclusion that caffeine does have an effect on the reaction time. It decreases it therfore making the student slove the problem faster. Caffeine being a stimulant gives an 'alert' and 'fresh' feeling which makes the student mentally active and also makes them solve the mathematical problems correctly. Evaluation: Using the tables, some effect of caffeine on the reaction time is seen. This is further proved by the statistical Z test performed. So I say that my results were reliable and that caffeine does have an effect on reaction time of an idividual. Explanation of Charts: From the test 1 chart, it is seen that the range of the reaction time is between 300-550 with some anomalous results below 300. From the rest 2 chart, it is seen that the range for reaction time is between 200-400 with some anomalous results above 400. While looking at these results, it has to be kept in mind that the mental ability and mathematical skills vary greatly from person to person. Experimental Limitations: If I was to repeat the investigation again I would do it with individuals of a wider age group including 20,40,60 year old individuals also. I would repeat the investigation with another and a higher concentration of caffeine. ...read more.

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