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The Effects of Strychnine and Caffeine Upon the Rate of Learning

Psychobiology , Volume 1 (2): 141 – Sep 1, 1917


Williams & Wilkins Company
Copyright © 1917 by American Psychological Association
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The Effects of Strychnine and Caffeine Upon the Rate of Learning


Albino rats were trained in the circular maze after subcutaneous injection of strychnine sulphate and of caffeine. Others were trained after similar manipulations but without the drugs, as controls. Analysis of the data obtained gives the following results: 1. Small doses of strychnine sulphate are without effect upon the rate of habit-formation. 2. Large doses of strychnine sulphate, sufficient to produce tremor and incoordination of movement, accelerate learning. 3. Caffeine, in doses of 0.5 mgm. or more, retards learning in direct proportion to the size of the dose. 4. Strychnine sulphate in large doses increases the accuracy of performance of a perfected habit. 5. Large doses of caffeine result in increased activity and reduced accuracy of performance.
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