Effects of concurrent caffeine and mobile phone exposure on local target probability processing in the human brain

Sci Rep. 2015 Sep 23;5:14434. doi: 10.1038/srep14434.


Millions of people use mobile phones (MP) while drinking coffee or other caffeine containing beverages. Little is known about the potential combined effects of MP irradiation and caffeine on cognitive functions. Here we investigated whether caffeine intake and concurrent exposure to Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) MP-like irradiation may interactively influence neuro-cognitive function in an active visual oddball paradigm. In a full factorial experimental design, 25 participants performed a simple visual target detection task while reaction time (RT) and electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded. Target trials were divided into Low and High probability sets based on target-to-target distance. We analyzed single trial RT and alpha-band power (amplitude) in the pre-target interval. We found that RT was shorter in High vs. Low local probability trials, and caffeine further shortened RT in High probability trials relative to the baseline condition suggesting that caffeine improves the efficiency of implicit short-term memory. Caffeine also decreased pre-target alpha amplitude resulting in higher arousal level. Furthermore, pre-target gamma power positively correlated with RT, which may have facilitated target detection. However, in the present pharmacologically validated study UMTS exposure either alone or in combination with caffeine did not alter RT or pre-stimulus oscillatory brain activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / radiation effects
  • Brain Waves / drug effects
  • Brain Waves / radiation effects
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Cell Phone*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition / radiation effects*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Memory, Short-Term / radiation effects
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Reaction Time / radiation effects
  • Young Adult


  • Caffeine