“[B]rain entropy” – intense complexity and irregular variability in brain activity from one moment to the next, [is] marked by greater long-distance correlations in neural activity. Greater entropy, up to a point, is indicative of more information processing capacity, as opposed to low entropy – characterised by orderliness and repetition – which is seen when we are in a deep sleep or coma.
A new study in Scientific Reports is the first to examine whether and how ingesting a psychostimulant – in this case caffeine – affects brain entropy. The results show caffeine causes a widespread increase in cerebral entropy. This dose of neural anarchy is probably welcome, especially considered in light of another new paper, in PLOS One, which finds greater brain entropy correlates with higher verbal IQ and reasoning ability.
[As you enjoy your morning coffee, you are increasing the entropy throughout your brain – the bitter tonic is not merely waking you up, but apparently also boosting your brain’s useful anarchy, its complexity and information processing capacity.
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