Do coffee and cigarettes make you smarter?



Via Brain Candy: Science, Paradoxes, Puzzles, Logic, and Illogic to Nourish Your Neurons:

You already know that your morning cup(s) of coffee make(s) you a better person: more alert, more outgoing, increasingly optimistic, better looking, better smelling, nicer, etc. But did you know that coffee actually makes you smarter?

It does, really. But only for a short period of time, and when you come down, you’re dumber than you were before taking that first sip (unless you drink more coffee!).

Studies show that caffeine increases the speed at which we process sensory information. And with luscious caffeine jouncing happily through our system, we make faster decisions based on these stimuli. In other words, we see faster and we act faster.

Cigarettes make us smarter too. Or at least their nicotine component does: It’s been shown to boost short-term working memory and executive function. Nicotine patches have also been shown to combat some of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

In other words, coffee makes us faster and nicotine makes us sharper. The crux is living long enough to enjoy these benefits.

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