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# Caffeine & Typing Speed

## Sample Science Fair Projects

Caffeine is a naturally-occurring stimulant found in coffee, tea and chocolate.

ALoopingIcon, Wikipedia Commons
Purpose

The purpose of this project is to determine whether taking caffeine affects typing speed.

Hypothesis

Typing speed is not affected by whether or not you take caffeine. (Remember: You cannot scientifically prove a hypothesis, however, you can disprove one.)

Experiment Summary

You are going to type the same text repeatedly for a specified length of time and compare how many words you typed before ingesting caffeine and afterwards.

Materials

• computer
• drink containing caffeine and another drink of the same type that is does not contain caffeine (e.g., coffee and decaf coffee, diet cola and decaf diet cola)
• stopwatch or timer
Experimental Procedure
1. Drink the non-caffeinated beverage. Wait 30 minutes.

2. Type "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." as many times as you can for 2 minutes. If you can, type using a word processing program that keeps track of how many words you have entered.

3. Drink the caffeinated beverage. Wait 30 minutes. (The peak effects from taking caffeine tend to be felt around 30-45 minutes after taking it.)

4. Type "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog." as many times as you can for 2 minutes.

5. Compare the number of words you typed. Calculate words per minute by dividing the total number of words that were typed by the number of minutes (e.g., 120 words in 2 minutes would be 60 words per minute).

6. Repeat the experiment, preferably a total of at least three times.

Data
• Construct a table stating the type of drink and the number of words you could type in 2 minutes.

• Calculate your average typing speed (words per minute) for each drink.

Results

Did taking caffeine affect how quickly you could type? If it did, did you type more or fewer words under the influence of caffeine?

Conclusions

• Was your hypothesis accepted or rejected? Can you propose an explanation for the outcome?

• Do you think you would get the same results if you had tested the effects of the caffeinated beverage first? Caffeine stays in your system for a few hours. When it wears off, some people report feeling "crashed" instead of normal.

• How do you think the results would be affected by changing the amount of caffeine? What do you think would happen if you took too much caffeine?

• Do you think you became better at typing the test sentence over time?

• If your word processor can track typing errors, did you note any difference in the accuracy of your typing after drinking the caffeinated beverage? Could you propose a hypothesis about the effect of caffeine use on typing accuracy?

• Caffeine occurs naturally in over 50 different types of plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, cocoa beans, and kola nuts.

• Caffeine acts as a mild stimulant. Some studies have shown that taking caffeine may temporarily increase concentration, reasoning, and memory. However, the effects of caffeine wear off after a few hours and if you routinely take caffeine you will need to take more to get the same effect.

• Most adults are exposed to caffeine in coffee and energy drinks. Children are likely to get caffeine from energy drinks, soft drinks, tea, and chocolate.

Amount of Caffeine in Common Products

 Product Caffeine (mg) coffee (8 oz) 65 - 120 Red Bull (8.2 oz) 80 tea (8 oz) 20 - 90 cola (8 oz) 20 - 40 dark chocolate (1 oz) 5 - 40 milk chocolate (1 oz) 1 - 15 chocolate milk (8 oz) 2 - 7 decaf coffee (8 oz) 2 - 4

Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.