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Caffeine promotes team work

By Connie Wan, P.h.D | July 30th, 2019

It seems that good teamwork starts with everyone being caffeinated.  Researchers from the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business found that people gave more positive reviews for their group’s performance on a task — and their own contribution — if they drank caffeinated coffee beforehand. In addition, a second study showed that people talked more in a group setting under the influence of caffeinated coffee — but they also were more on-topic than those who drank decaf. The result was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The first study involved 72 undergraduate students who said they were coffee drinkers. They were instructed not to drink coffee before the experiment. Half of them first participated in what they were told was a coffee-tasting task. They 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. 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 the other group members.

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.

The second study was similar, except that 61 students all drank coffee at the beginning of the study. However, half drank decaf and the others drank caffeinated brew.  Those who drank caffeinated coffee rated themselves and their fellow group members more positively than those who drank decaf.

Caffeine seems to work its magic in teams by making people more alert.  Researchers noted that the increased alertness was what led to the positive results for team performance.  

All participants 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 — whether they drank caffeinated coffee or not — also tended to give higher marks to themselves and their fellow group members.

Furthermore, the caffeine does more than just increase good feelings. The researchers did an analysis of the group discussion in the second study, rating how much each group member talked and stayed on topic.  Results showed that people tended to talk more after drinking caffeine, and they also tended to stay more on topic.  To top it off, the study showed that people who drank caffeinated coffee were more likely than those who drank decaf to say they would be willing to work with their group again.

Next time, before starting the meeting, make sure everyone takes a Mocca Shots High Energy Gummy to ensure a successful and collaborative discussion.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:

Vasu Unnava, Amit Surendra Singh, H. Rao Unnava. Coffee with co-workers: role of caffeine on evaluations of the self and others in group settingsJournal of Psychopharmacology, 2018; 026988111876066 DOI: 10.1177/0269881118760665