‘Smart’ drugs make bright people stupid

"Smart" pills that students pop to boost their academic performance do not work for healthy people, says a new research.

They may improve the creativity of only those who are not naturally gifted, the findings suggested. The study focused on the smart drug Modafinil.

"Our findings were completely opposite to the results we expected," said researcher Ahmed Dahir Mohamed from the University of Nottingham’ Malaysia campus in Selangor, Malaysia.

"It looks like Modafinil is not helpful for healthy individuals and it might even impair their ability to respond and might stifle their lateral thinking, while people who have some sort of deficiency in creativity are helped by the drug," Mohamed added.

The researchers administered 32 participants with the drug Modafinil and 32 with a placebo.

All the participants were given a famous neuropsychological task known as the Hayling Sentence Completion Test in which they were asked to respond both quickly and accurately.

The drug slowed down reaction times of the group administered the drug, impaired their ability to respond in a timely manner and failed to improve their performance of the task, the findings showed.

When Mohamed looked at a participant’s ability to solve problems in a creative manner, he found that those who were not particularly creative to start with improved with the help of the drug while those who were creative were impaired by the drug.

The study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

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