RE: Smart drugs - an interesting survey

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Dec 22 2004 - 08:55:17 MST

> Modafinil, for example, was designed by my boss's colleague, a
> man whom we know
> has overhyped the product, and we're thinking about starting
> trials to test its
> efficacy against caffeine. Previous work has shown that Modafinil only
> marginally improves psychomotor vigilance over repeated doses of
> caffeine, and
> it's nowhere near as potent as amphetamines. It's a glutamate
> agonist, though,
> so it doesn't have the addiction potential of the dopaminergic
> drugs, and it
> doesn't create the anxiety that caffeine does. I doubt the claim that it
> IMPROVES intelligence/cognitive ability. More than likely, it
> extends your
> ability to remain at your innate peak performance.

In my personal experience, modafinil allows me to stay awake all night and
then operate at 90% of my normal effectiveness the following day. Caffeine
does not do that. I've never taken amphetamines, but my impression is that
they have a lot of side-effects including psychological ones, whereas
modafinil seems not to.

Modafinil seems to give a mild mood lift, but doesn't appear to me to
improve my cognitive ability in any way. Perhaps due to its mood elevating
effects it makes some people *happier* with their cognitive ability, rather
than actually improving it ;-)

On the other hand, a friend of mine took modafinil and said it made her feel
too weird and lightheaded and nervous, although it did let her stay awake a
long time. She won't take it anymore. So not surprisingly, as with many
drugs, the effect shows a lot of individual variation.

-- Ben Goertzel

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