"What emerged was that the longer and the more complex the task... the more consistently modafinil showed cognitive benefits,” Anna-Katharine Brem, a neuropsychologist at Oxford and one of the study's authors, told The Atlantic.
But how does it differ from other drugs that promote productivity, like Adderall? According to some psychiatrists, modafinil and Adderall have similar effects; however, their chemical makeups are different. Adderall, or amphetamine, boosts levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain, which leads to greater feelings of alertness and concentration.
What mondifil does is a little less clear. Scientists know that it makes you feel more awake because it stimulates the release of histamine (so, the opposite of what an allergy medication like Benadryl does). But the effect it has on the neurotransmitter systems in the brain also allows you to more easily execute complex tasks.