Nottingham experts say ‘smart’ drug Modafinil won’t make people smarter

New research carried out by experts in Nottingham has shown that the ‘smart’ drug Modafinil, often used by students to help with studying, won’t make you smarter.

It is understood that around one in five students have taken the drug to try and boost their ability to study and improve their chances of exam success.

However, research published by the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham has shown that healthy students could actually find their performance impaired by the drug.

In a double-blind trial, experts at the University discovered that while less creative participants were improved by the drug, the more healthy, creative people were actually impaired by it.

According to Dr Ahmed Dahir Mohamed, the man who pioneered the study, the drug actually slowed down the reaction times of the healthy people who he tested.

As well as this, the study also impaired the participants ability to respond to the test in a timely manner and failed to improve their performance.

Dr Mohamed said:

“It has been argued that Modafinil might improve your performance by delaying your ability to respond.

“It has been suggested this ‘delay dependent improvement’ might improve cognitive performance by making people less impulsive. We found no evidence to support those claims.

“Our research showed that when a task required instant reactions the drug just increased reaction times with no improvement to cognitive performance.”

The results were gathered from a randomised double blind study, ‘Modafinil increases the latency of response in the Hayling Sentence Completion Test in Healthy Volunteers: A Randomised Controlled Trial’.

The scientists gave 32 people the drug, and 32 others a placebo.

Through the research, Dr Mohamed found that when looking at a participant’s ability to problem solve in a creative manner he found that those who weren’t particularly creative to start with were improved by the drug, while those who were creative were impaired by the drug.

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