The Surprising Placebo Effect of Morning Coffee: Study Suggests Its Energy-Boosting Effects Are Just in Your Head

By: | July 8th, 2023

Image by Pixabay

Starting the day with a cup of coffee is a ritual for many, and it can set the tone for the rest of the day. Coffee is often linked to increased alertness and many people rely on it to stay awake and improve their productivity.

Recent research conducted by the University of Minho in Portugal suggests that drinking coffee may have a placebo-like effect on coffee drinkers, influencing their perception of being prepared to face the day.

The study examined coffee drinkers to determine whether the wakefulness effect is primarily driven by the properties of caffeine or if the sensory experience and enjoyment of drinking coffee also play a role.

In the study, participants who regularly consumed coffee were recruited and instructed to abstain from caffeinated beverages for a specific period before the study. The researchers conducted fMRI scans before and after coffee consumption or caffeine intake.

The scans aimed to examine brain activity and connectivity.

Interestingly, the scans showed that drinking coffee increased connectivity in the higher visual network and the right executive control network. These brain regions are involved in working memory, cognitive control, and goal-directed behavior. This increase in connectivity was not observed when participants consumed caffeine alone.

This means if you want to feel alert and ready for tasks, caffeine alone won’t do it…you need that mug of java.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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