Investigating the effects of caffeine on executive functions using traditional Stroop and a new ecologically-valid virtual reality task, the Jansari assessment of Executive Functions (JEF©)

Article


Soar, K., Chapman, E., Sivakuma, N., Jansari, A.S. and Turner, J. 2016. Investigating the effects of caffeine on executive functions using traditional Stroop and a new ecologically-valid virtual reality task, the Jansari assessment of Executive Functions (JEF©). Appetite. 105, pp. 156-163.
AuthorsSoar, K., Chapman, E., Sivakuma, N., Jansari, A.S. and Turner, J.
Abstract

Objective: Caffeine has been shown to have effects on certain areas of cognition, but in
executive functioning the research is limited and also inconsistent. One reason could be the
need for a more sensitive measure to detect the effects of caffeine on executive function. This
study used a new non-immersive virtual reality assessment of executive functions known as
JEF© (the Jansari Assessment of Executive Function) alongside the ‘classic’ Stroop Colour-
Word task to assess the effects of a normal dose of caffeinated coffee on executive function.
Method: Using a double-blind, counterbalanced within participants procedure 43 participants
were administered either a caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee and completed the ‘JEF©’ and
Stroop tasks, as well as a subjective mood scale and blood pressure pre- and post condition
on two separate occasions a week apart. JEF© yields measures for eight separate aspects of
executive functions, in addition to a total average score.
Results: Findings indicate that performance was significantly improved on the planning,
creative thinking, event-, time- and action-based prospective memory, as well as total JEF©
score following caffeinated coffee relative to the decaffeinated coffee. The caffeinated
beverage significantly decreased reaction times on the Stroop task, but there was no effect on
Stroop interference.
Conclusion: The results provide further support for the effects of a caffeinated beverage on
cognitive functioning. In particular, it has demonstrated the ability of JEF© to detect the
effects of caffeine across a number of executive functioning constructs, which weren’t shown
in the Stroop task, suggesting executive functioning improvements as a result of a ‘typical’
dose of caffeine may only be detected by the use of more real-world, ecologically valid tasks.

JournalAppetite
Journal citation105, pp. 156-163
ISSN01956663
Year2016
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-NC-ND
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.appet.2016.05.021
Publication dates
Print20 May 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited31 May 2016
Accepted18 May 2016
Copyright information© 2016 Elsevier
LicenseCC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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