A study by Indian American researchers at the Ohio State University and the University of California at Davis, has found that people are more likely to have a positive attitude and good teamwork skills if they start their day with a cup of caffeinated coffee.
“Coffee seems to work its magic in teams by making people more alert. We found that increased alertness was what led to the positive results for team performance and not surprisingly, people who drank caffeinated coffee tended to be more alert,” Amit Singh, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in marketing at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, said in a press release.
A second study showed that people were willing to talk more in groups on the topic when they are under the influence of caffeinated coffee.
Singh conducted the study with Vasu Unnava and H. Rao Unnava, both from the Graduate School of Management at the UC-Davis.
The first study involved 72 undergraduate students who were coffee drinkers and were instructed not to drink coffee before the experiment.
Half of them first participated in a coffee-tasting task and were split into groups of five.
After drinking a cup of coffee and rating its flavor, they were given 30 minutes of filler tasks to give the caffeine a chance to kick in while the other half of the participants did the coffee tasting at the end of the experiment.
Each group then read about and were asked to discuss a controversial topic.
After a 15-minute discussion, group members evaluated themselves and others.
Singh said the results showed that those who drank the coffee before the discussion rated themselves and their fellow team members more positively than did those who drank coffee after the discussion.
In the second study, 61 students drank coffee at the beginning of the study with half drinking decaf and half drinking a caffeinated brew.
Those who drank the caffeinated coffee rated themselves and their fellow group members more positively than those who drank the decaf brew.
All participants also rated how alert they felt at the end of the study, and those who drank the caffeinated coffee rated themselves as more alert than the others.
A key finding was that people who rated themselves as more alert also tended to give higher ratings to themselves and their fellow group members and tended to stay more on topic, suggesting that any intervention that increases alertness, like exercise, may also produce similar results.
“We suspect that when people are more alert they see themselves and the other group members contributing more, and that gives them a more positive attitude. They’re talking about more relevant things after drinking caffeinated coffee,” Singh added.