Even just catching a glimpse of something that reminds of you coffee — without drinking a drop — can make you feel more alert and attentive, according to research from the University of Toronto, published in Consciousness and Cognition.
While the physical effects of coffee are well known, less is understood about its possible psychological effects. The Toronto researchers explored a psychological effect called priming in which subtle cues can influence your thoughts and behavior. Well-known company logos — such as McDonald’s — are known to induce a psychological response.
The researchers conducted four separate studies involving exposing people from Western and Eastern cultures to coffee- and tea-related cues. They found that those who were exposed to coffee cues, but didn’t actually drink coffee, perceived time as going by faster and thought in more concrete, precise terms than those exposed to tea cues, especially people from Western cultures, which are typically more coffee-dominated.