Expectation of having consumed caffeine can improve performance and mood

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Dawkins, Lynne ; Shahzad, Fatima-Zahra ; Ahmed, Suada S. ; Edmonds, Caroline J. (2011)

We explored whether caffeine, and expectation of having consumed caffeine, affects attention, reward responsivity and mood using double-blinded methodology. 88 participants were randomly allocated to ‘drink-type’ (caffeinated/decaffeinated coffee) and ‘expectancy’ (told caffeinated/told decaffeinated coffee) manipulations. Both caffeine and expectation of having consumed caffeine improved attention and psychomotor speed. Expectation enhanced self-reported vigour and reward responsivity. Self-reported depression increased at post-drink for all participants, but less in those receiving or expecting caffeine. These results suggest caffeine expectation can affect mood and performance but do not support a synergistic effect.
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