Altering Environmental Cues Associated with Caffeine Consumption Manipulates Expectancy of the Drug’s Effects
Many studies have shown that manipulating the expectancies of the effects of a drug can actually change the reported effects of the drug. Manipulation of expectancies has historically been done by instructional set, such as telling the subjects that a specific drug should have a certain effect on them. Recently, expectancy studies have been done through the manipulation of environmental cues associated with the effects of the drugs. Manipulating environmental cues associated with the effects of caffeine should produce an increase in scores on a number of different tests depending on the amount expected and actual amount of caffeine. In this study the goal was to manipulate the participants’ expectancy of the effects caffeine had on them. Caffeine was given to the subjects in either one cup of regular coffee or two cups of half caffeine and half decaffeinated coffee. The effects were measured using four caffeine-sensitive measures. The first measure was a hand-steadiness task, whereas the second task was a tapping test called the finger oscillation task. The third test was a Profile of Mood States Questionnaire. The fourth test was the Digit Symbol test, which is a subset of the WAIS-R.
Contrary to previous research, no differences in scores were found between the two groups. However, there was a difference in the number and strength of the correlations of the variables between the two groups.
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