A new study suggests that the buzz people get from caffeinated coffee could just be a placebo effect. The University of East London conducted a small focus group with 88 participants. Some were knowingly given caffeinated coffee, while others were given caffeinated but were told that it was decaf, or given decaf coffee but were told that it was caffeinated.
The participants then underwent a series of tests to measure their mental performance, reaction times and mood. The study concluded that the people who thought they were drinking caffeinated coffee (when it was actually decaf) did just as well as people who did have caffeine. The research indicates that the buzz we get from coffee is actually from thinking that we’re drinking caffeinated coffee, rather than from the actual effects of caffeine. Researchers wrote in the study that ‘both caffeine and expectation of having consumed caffeine improved attention and psychomotor speed’.