The Australian researchers from the University of Queensland found that with caffeine consumption we are more likely to attend to, and agree with, persuasive arguments.
The experiments involved asking people their attitudes about voluntary euthanasia before and after reading persuasive arguments against their initial beliefs. Prior to reading the arguments, the participants consumed orange juice with either caffeine (equivalent to two cups of coffee) or no caffeine (placebo).
The level of 'systematic processing of the message' was found to be increased by caffeine as shown by increased agreement with the arguments, greater message-related thinking and better argument recall.
Lead author Dr. Pearl Martin from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland says,
"Given the numerous situations in which people are exposed to persuasive arguments, these results could have many applied implications.
Consider how caffeine containing products (such as, coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks) might affect how persuaded a person is when, for example, listening to advertisements or a political speech on the radio/TV, reading a film review or in a business meeting to discuss work-related issues."
Notes to Editors:
1. Martin, P.Y. : Effects of caffeine on persuasion and attitude change: The role of secondary tasks in manipulating systematic message processing. European Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.347
2. The European Journal of Social Psychology is an international forum for original research in all areas of social psychology. The European Journal of Social Psychology was founded and is sponsored by the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology. It is dedicated to fostering scientific communication within Europe and between European and other social psychologists. The European Journal of Social Psychology can be accessed at: www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/ejsp
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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