Water supplementation after dehydration improves judgment and decision-making performance

Psychol Res. 2020 Jul;84(5):1223-1234. doi: 10.1007/s00426-018-1136-y. Epub 2019 Jan 21.


Previous research has shown that dehydration and water supplementation affect mood and cognitive performance in both adults and children on a variety of tasks that assess memory, attention, executive function, and speeded responses. Given the varied effects of water on cognition, this study explored potential effects of water supplementation, hydration status, and thirst on thinking and decision-making tasks. 29 adult participants undertook a battery of cognitive tests on two separate occasions after having fasted from the previous night. On one occasion, they were offered 500 ml of water to drink prior to testing. Measures of urine osmolality confirmed the group-level effectiveness of the dehydration manipulation. Water supplementation was found to improve performance on tasks measuring cognitive reflection in judgement and decision-making. This increase in performance was associated with differences in tasks implicated in inhibition processes. Drinking water after a 12-h dehydration period increased performance in judgement and decision-making tasks, and this was not explained by differences in subjective thirst or attentiveness.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Dehydration / physiopathology*
  • Dehydration / therapy*
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Drinking Water*
  • Executive Function / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Drinking Water