Is Your Caffeine Addiction All In Your Head?

The more studies I read about how powerful the placebo effect is in every day life, the more I wonder if anything works or doesn't work or if we're all just in some scene in The Matrix but ANYWAY.

Lots of people claim to be caffeine "addicts" but according to many, the jolt you receive from caffeine may not be as vital as you think.

To investigate the power of this placebo effect in coffee drinkers, University of London researchers enlisted the help of 88 students, ages 18 to 47, who drank at least a couple of cups of caffeinated coffee a day. The scientists told the students only that they were studying the effects of caffeine on mood and brainpower.

The students were divided into four groups, each consisting of 11 men and 11 women.
People in two of the groups were given a cup of caffeinated coffee to drink, although one of those groups was told their coffee was decaf. People in the other two groups were given a cup of decaf, although the researchers told one group that they were getting caffeinated coffee.

The students drank their coffee in five minutes and then chilled for 55 before taking tests to evaluate mood and brainpower.

You won't be surprised to hear that simply believing they'd had caffeine "improved the students' attention and the speed at which they could perform a card-sorting task, a measure of psychomotor function."

Hell, the students who drank coffee with caffeine —or at least thought they did— also reported feeling less depressed than the others.

That said, many people experience withdrawal symptoms when they quit caffeine, but it's difficult to say why that is exactly.

So if you want to try quitting by employing the great and powerful placebo effect, you pretty much have to be tricked into it. Therefore, I recommend finding a partner-in-crime who is willing to come in and solve all of your problems by kindly messing with your head.

Coffee buzz may be all in your head [MSNBC]