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Daniel Kim
12-3-12
HBS, period 1
Reaction time experiment

Caffeine and Reaction Time

1) Identify the Problem or Question

How does the consumption of caffeine affect the reaction time of the nervous system?

2) Introduction

Purpose of the experiment: To identify the whether or not caffeine increases or decreases the reaction time of the nervous system.

In our experiment, we have decided to use all the “cases” which will test how fast a signal from our brain will be sent to our muscles in order to click the mouse when we see an object or directions on the screen. We know that the commonly used drug, caffeine, increases the heart rate, thus the increase in blood flow. The question in our experiment is, does the increase of blood flow, caused by caffeine, positively or negatively affects the reaction time that it takes to click the mouse the moment we see an approaching object.

Another underlying factor we can analyze in our experiment is gender and age. Since we are using test subjects whose ages and gender vary from 16 to 50 and from male to female, we can roughly conclude whether or not age and gender affect reaction time. The reason we say roughly, is that the two factors, age and gender, are being “tested” in conjunction with the consumption of caffeine. We do not know if the consumption of caffeine and its effects vary for how old the person is and his or her gender.

3) Research and Current Ideas

In past experiments, people have concluded that there is an inconsistency in results depending on the amount of caffeine consumed. Apparently, a half-cup of coffee had faster reaction times than the reaction times that were drawn when the test subject drank a full cup of coffee. The person had concluded that too much caffeine could actually impair reaction time, but the right dosage could potentially increase reaction time.

4) Predict a solution to the problem or an answer to the question

Scientific Hypothesis: The...