Can certain pills make you smarter?
Prescription drugs are sometimes used off-label to improve cognitive function. Researchers who wanted to find out if the “smart drugs” work recruited 39 competitive chess players with an average IQ of 127 and an aboveaverage chess rating. The players were given either 200 mg of modafinil, 200 mg of caffeine, 20 mg of Ritalin, or a placebo. Then they were tested while they played chess against a computer. Modafinil boosted performance by 15%, Ritalin by 13%, and caffeine by 9%, but only if the players took extra time to make a move. Conclusion: The substances made fast, shallow thinkers deeper and somewhat slower.