Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 26 August 2014


It is currently not known whether caffeine has an enhancing effect on long-term memory in humans. We used post-study caffeine administration to test its effect on memory consolidation using a behavioral discrimination task. Caffeine enhanced performance 24 h after administration according to an inverted U-shaped dose-response curve; this effect was specific to consolidation and not retrieval. We conclude that caffeine enhanced consolidation of long-term memories in humans.

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Figure 1: Caffeine enhances discrimination performance 24 h after study.
Figure 2: Impact of caffeine on consolidation and variable dose effects.

Change history

  • 17 January 2014

    In the version of this article initially published, in the first sentence in the Online Methods, the s.d. of the age of the subjects was missing and the number of female subjects was given as 280. The s.d. is 2 years and the number of female subjects is 80. The error has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.

  • 30 October 2014

    In the version of this article initially published, there were errors in the reporting of statistics. In the Figure 1b legend, the asterisked P value was given in the HTML version as *P = 0.05 and in the PDF version as *P < 0.05. It should read *P < 0.05, one-tailed. In the Figure 2a legend, the degrees of freedom for the immediate caffeine group were given as 42 and the P value as 0.05; the correct values are 71 and 0.049, respectively. In the Figure 2b legend and the fifth paragraph of the main text, the P value for the main effect of caffeine was given as 0.001; the correct value is 0.05. The errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.


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M.A.Y. is supported by US National Institute on Aging P50 AG05146 and R01 AG034613. J.P.T. is supported by US National Science Foundation CHE-1213438. D.B. is supported by a Johns Hopkins University Provost Undergraduate Research Award. We thank A. Newman and C. Townsend for the use of their high-performance liquid chromatography instrument, D. Spira, A. Ward and J. Kim for help with participant testing, Z. Reagh for help with data analysis, and J. Knierim for helpful discussions regarding this manuscript.

Author information




D.B., J.P.T. and M.A.Y. designed the study. D.B., E.M., G.K., A.C., J.M.W. and M.L. conducted the experiments. D.B. and M.A.Y. wrote the manuscript with input from all authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael A Yassa.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Integrated supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1 Representative high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) trace.

Trace shows distinct peaks for caffeine, paraxanthine and benzotriazole. Units are in milli Absorbance Units (mAU) at 280 nm.

Supplementary Figure 2 Caffeine absorption and metabolism.

Group averages of the sum of caffeine and paraxanthine concentrations (μg/ml) from HPLC. Both the caffeine and placebo group had negligible amounts of caffeine and paraxanthine in saliva at baseline. The caffeine group had a significant increase in caffeine and paraxanthine concentrations at 1 hour and 3 hours, then declined to baseline at 24 hours. The placebo group had no such increase in caffeine or paraxanthine. Error bars are + 1 s.e.m.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–2 and Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 212 kb)

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Borota, D., Murray, E., Keceli, G. et al. Post-study caffeine administration enhances memory consolidation in humans. Nat Neurosci 17, 201–203 (2014).

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