The Influence of Caffein on Mental and Motor Efficiency
In the spring of 1911 the writer was called on by the Coca-Cola Company, of Atlanta, Ga., for an opinion as to the influence of caffeine on mental and motor processes. In the absence of adequate reliable data it seemed necessary to conduct a set of careful experiments before any opinion could be rendered with either fairness or certainty, which was the task that this book took on.
The results for each chapter's experiments are briefly summarized at the close of the chapters. It is clear at once that caffeine influences all the tests in a given group in much the same way. The effect on motor processes comes quickly and is transient. The effect on higher mental processes comes more slowly and is more persistent. Whether this result is due to quicker reaction on the part of motor nerve centers, or whether it is due to a direct peripheral effect on the muscle tissue, the pure psychologist can hardly be expected to know. Physiological experiment, however, seems to indicate that caffeine has a direct effect on the muscle tissue, and that this effect is fairly rapid in appearance. The physiology of absorption also explains the fact that the presence of food substance in the stomach retards and reduces the caffeine influence. The dependence of the amount of the caffeine influence on the body weight of the individual has already been explained in terms of the amount of the substance ingested per unit of tissue affected.