The more caffeine people consume the more they see it as a positive thing, according to a new study.
The report, by Dr Lorenzo Stafford of the University of Portsmouth’s psychology department, says heavy caffeine users are the only known “Ëœdrug users’ to see their habit in a positive light.
His study investigated people’s underlying feelings about caffeine and the results are published in the latest issue of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
He said: “Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, cola, Red Bull and even in chocolate. It is the most widely consumed drug in the world, with all of the hallmarks of more addictive drugs, including withdrawal symptoms, tolerance and dependence.
“Our findings show that the more caffeine a person consumes, the more it is likely they will see caffeine as a good thing.”
For the purposes of the study, Dr Stafford focused on tea and coffee drinkers. The research used an implicit association task to test the underlying opinions of people who drink no caffeine, those who drink one-three cups a day, and those who drink five or more cups a day. To disguise the true nature of the study, participants were asked to drink only water from the night before they took part.
The findings show that those who never drink caffeine and those who are moderate users were more likely to associate the word caffeine with negative words, including “Ëœslime’, “Ëœfailure’ and “Ëœbad’.
Heavy caffeine drinkers on the other hand were faster to categorize caffeine with positive words including “Ëœjoy’, “Ëœsuccess’ and good’.
Dr Stafford said: “We were surprised that moderate users of caffeine categorized caffeine as negative. It was also interesting that despite their different opinions on caffeine, both moderate and high coffee drinkers showed withdrawal symptoms compared to those who never drank tea or coffee.
“Heavy smokers usually associate tobacco with negative things in similar tests, possibly related to the theory they might “Ëœneed’ tobacco but not “Ëœlike’ it. Caffeine is also addictive but heavy consumers of coffee and tea evidently don’t feel their habit carries a social stigma.”
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