Caffeine does not modulate inhibitory control.

Zoe Tieges*, Jan Snel, Albert Kok, Richard Ridderinkhof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of a 3mg/kg body weight (BW) dose of caffeine were assessed on behavioral indices of response inhibition. To meet these aims, we selected a modified AX version of the Continuous Performance Test (CPT), the stop task, and the flanker task. In three double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subjects experiments, these tasks were administered to healthy participants. While the results for the AX-CPT were indicative of improved response inhibition after caffeine, they might also reflect caffeine-induced changes in mechanisms other than response inhibition (e.g., attentional processes). The results for the stop task and flanker task were more straightforward. That is, the effects of caffeine on overall flanker performance and selective response suppression as revealed by distribution-analytical techniques were negligible. In the stop task a global effect of caffeine on processing speed was seen, rather than specific effects on response inhibition. Taken together, these experiments showed that both active and reactive inhibition were not significantly modulated by caffeine. The present results are linked to neural circuits that underlie inhibitory control and the role of caffeine-induced strategic changes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-327
Number of pages12
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
Early online date7 Sep 2008
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • caffeine
  • response inhibition
  • inhibitory control
  • reaction time


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