The effects of coffee and caffeine are powerful ones. So powerful in fact, that you don’t even have to consume any in order to feel the buzz. According to a new study, just thinking about coffee can give you a mental boost.
According to Newsmax, the research was done by University of Toronto duo Sam Maglio and Eugene Chan, an associate professor of management and a Ph.D. recipient, respectively. Instead of studying how caffeine affects the body directly, Maglio and Chan wanted to see coffee-related cues to see if they created the same sort of arousal as the consumption does. “Coffee is one of the most popular beverages and a lot is known about its physical effects,” Maglio states. “Much less is known about its psychological meaning—in other words, how even seeing reminders of it can influence how we think.”
To reach their conclusion, Maglio and Chan took participants from “Western and Eastern” cultures and subjected them to coffee- and tea-related cues. They found that those “exposed to coffee-related cues perceived time as shorter and thought in more concrete, precise terms.” But the level of the effect wasn’t equal across the board; subjects from Eastern cultures didn’t experience the same level of effect, “probably because they are not coffee-dominated cultures,” per Maglio.
The result is what Maglio refers to as “priming,” a sort of Pavlovian response to cues that mimics the effects those cues represent. Essentially, you drink enough coffee and you start to associate it with alertness, so when you are given a coffee cue, the brain is already perking up. The difference in the effect between majority coffee drinking and non-majority coffee drinking cultures lends credence to this being a learned behavior.
This research is good news for those who forgot to grab a bag of coffee yesterday and are forced to start the day off dry. Don’t worry your foggy little head, my darlings. Just go hold onto a mug, maybe smell some coffee grounds in the trash can, and repeat to yourself, “coffee.” You should be wide awake and buzzing in no time.
Top image via Phys.org