Skip to main content

Drinking Coffee Tied to Better Teamwork

If you’re getting ready to engage in a group project that requires alert and positive team members, it might be a good idea to give everyone a cup of coffee beforehand.

A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology finds that when team members drink a cup of coffee before performing a task together, they tend to give more positive reviews for their group’s performance — and their own contribution.

The research also shows that while coffee drinkers tend to be more talkative in a group setting, they stay more on-topic than those who drink decaf.

“We found that increased alertness was what led to the positive results for team performance,” said Amit Singh, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in marketing at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. “Not surprisingly, people who drank caffeinated coffee tended to be more alert.”

Singh conducted the study with Drs. Vasu Unnava and H. Rao Unnava, both formerly at Ohio State and now with the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis. While several studies have examined how caffeine influences individual performance, this is the first to investigate its impact on teams.

The first experiment involved 72 undergraduate students who were self-reported coffee drinkers. They were instructed not to drink coffee before the study.

Half of the participants were told this was a coffee-tasting task and then split into groups of five. After drinking a cup of coffee and rating its flavor, the participants were given 30 minutes of filler tasks to allow the caffeine to kick in. The other half of the participants did the coffee tasting at the end of the experiment.

Each group then reviewed and discussed a controversial topic: the Occupy movement, a liberal movement that highlights social and economic inequality. After a 15-minute discussion, group members rated themselves and the other group members.

The findings reveal that participants who drank the coffee before the group task rated themselves and their fellow team members more positively than those who drank coffee after the discussion, Singh said.

In a second experiment, 61 students drank coffee at the beginning of the study, but half were given decaf. Those who drank caffeinated coffee rated themselves and their fellow group members more positively than those who drank decaf.

The researchers believe the key to these findings is a higher level of alertness among the regular coffee drinkers. 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 those who did not.

In addition, those 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.

The researchers suggest that any intervention which increases alertness (such as exercise) may also lead to 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,” Singh said.

But the caffeine does more than just increase good feelings. After conducting an analysis of the group discussion in the second study, the researchers found that people tended to talk more after drinking caffeine, but they also tended to stay more on topic.

“They’re talking about more relevant things after drinking caffeinated coffee,” he said.

One might think that if people are talking more about a controversial topic like the Occupy movement, that it could cause friction in the group. But that’s not what the study suggests.

Participants who drank regular coffee were more likely than those who drank decaf to say they would be willing to work with their group again.

“Even though they are talking more, agreeing and disagreeing, they still want to work with them again,” Singh said. “Coffee didn’t seem to make group discussions too uncomfortable and disagreeable.”

Source: Ohio State University


from Psych Central News

Become a patron of The Carlisle Wellness Network. Show everyone that you think this service is worth at least a buck. Go to; and pledge one dollar per month and help improve the resources it takes to gather the articles you see here as well as create fresh content including interviews an podcasts. We only need one dollar per month from all of our patrons to give The Carlisle Wellness Network a bright furture in the health and wellness social media ecosystem.


Popular posts from this blog

PET Imaging Agent Can ID Good Candidates for Depression Drug

A new brain imaging agent could reveal — before any treatment has been prescribed — whether a patient with major depressive disorder (MDD) is likely to respond to a particular antidepressant, according to a new study published in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. No such marker is currently available in clinical psychiatry.Escitalopram (Lexapro), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), can be an effective MDD treatment for some patients, but not all. During  positron emission tomography (PET) test, the tracer 11C-DASB targets the serotonin transporter protein (5-HTT) in the amygdala of the brain, a region associated with emotional processing.In the study, patients shown to have less 5-HTT protein were those who later experienced relief from escitalopram.“MDD is a heterogeneous disorder, which makes it extremely difficult to treat effectively,” said researcher Mala R. Ananth, a graduate student at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y.“Optimizing treatment is challenging a…

Reducing Alzheimer’s Stigma Could Enhance Research

A new study suggests ongoing research on Alzheimer’s disease may be challenged by the stigma associated with the disease. This concern comes from the results of a national survey which discovered people may be afraid to admit they have early stage Alzheimer’s because of fear of discrimination — especially potential limitations on their health insurance.Researchers say these fears can hopefully be overcome by the development of new policies to protect individuals. Nondisclosure of early symptoms that may or may not be Alzheimer’s hinders a individuals ability to obtain timely care. Additionally, a person may miss the opportunity to participate in clinical studies that discover potential therapies.The finding are the results of a national survey about what beliefs, attitudes and expectations are most often associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The survey results appear in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.“We found that concerns about discrimination a…

Hair Pulling, Nail Biting, Skin Peeling and Biting

All my life I’ve bitten my nails. It’s caused me a lot of trouble, especially with my bipolar mother who has always thought screaming and shouting at me (and often a smack when I was younger) would make me stop.At around 7 I also started biting and peeling the skin on my fingers which has caused a lot of social and health issues for me from being to ashamed to join in with prayers at school, to getting my fingers getting a fungal infection causing long lasting damage to my fingers.Soon after I started to pull out the tiny hairs on my legs during school assembles and by 12 I began to pull my eyebrow hair out.How can I stop doing this to myself? I don’t even realise I’m doing it half the time (I started biting the skin around my fingers just writing this and caused it to bleed a little). I’m afraid to bring this up with my parents because of how they have reacted in the past and I’m far too embarrassed to ask anyone I would typically trust. It has severally impacted how I interact with …