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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 18 January, 2020

That morning coffee boost? It's all in the mind...

If you’re just enjoying your first cup, we’ve got some bad news.

Image: antwerpenR via Flickr

JUST LOOKING FORWARD to your first cup of coffee? Well, we’ve got some bad news – that caffeine kick-start may be all in your imagination.

A study published in the journal Appetite shows that the effects of coffee could be as much about what we expect as the drink’s stimulating effects. One group of volunteers for the University of East London research were given regular coffee, but told it was decaffeinated. Another group were handed cups of decaf, which they were told contained caffeine, the Times of India reports.

All the volunteers were then given tests. Those who genuinely had caffeine showed improvement in one mental test, but the coffee did not help their reaction times. However, volunteers who had drunk decaf which they believed contained caffeine performed better both in the mental test and in reaction times.

“These results suggest caffeine expectation can affect mood and performance,” the researchers wrote – suggesting that expecting a boost from coffee may have more of an impact than the caffeine itself.

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About the author:

Michael Freeman

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