Drinking Coffee Might Make You More Likable, According To Science — So No One Can Judge You For Your Third Cup

There is something extremely magical about a cup of coffee. A steaming cup in the morning gets ready for the day. Iced coffee can perk you up in the afternoon heat. And a warm mug after dinner can relax you. And, now, if it seems like you get along better with your co-workers after a cup, it might actually be because of your coffee.

A new study done by the University of California, Davis, and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that drinking coffee before any group activity or conversation might help you be more social, self-confident, and engaged.

Coffee has an odd purpose in our diet, where it doesn’t actually serve caloric purpose. Though, there has been a ton of research on how coffee affects the individual. According to Business Insider, the Journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that drinking more coffee could be associated with longer life. But not much has been done on how it affects a group. According to the UC Davis press release, that is where the writers of the paper decided to explore, “Is it the caffeine in the coffee or the simple act of consuming coffee together that made people feel positive?”

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Vasu Unnava, an assistant professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and her team compared how coffee drinkers and non-coffee drinkers acted around each other when they were asked to interact.  One group was asked to drink 12 ounces of caffeinated coffee while the other went coffeeless. Each were then tasked with reading about the Occupy Wall Street movement, and then they discussed what they read in a group. As reported by CNBC, every conversation was coded based on a point system made by the researchers, and each participant evaluated themselves after the task was completed.

In the press release, researchers found that the group who drank the caffeinated coffee had “delivered a higher quality of arguments when working through simple group activities,” and they “had more of them.” The caffeine seemed to increase the groups focus and encourage them to participate in the group activities. And interestingly, based on the self-evaluations, researchers found that those who drank coffee before participating in the activity thought more highly of the groups performance than those who didn’t have any coffee.

After the conclusion of the experiment, the researchers were still left with questions. As reported by Bustle, they wanted to know if the caffeine in the coffee made people like each other more or the act of drinking it together that did it. So researchers completed the same experiment on a different group, but this time everyone was unknowingly given a cup of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

Surprisingly the results were the same! Caffeinated drinkers had enjoyed the group discussion, had felt more alert, and were more willing to work within the group again than the decaf drinkers.

The study isn’t without its limitations though. As Unnava pointed out to CNBC, there is a clear link between caffeine, increased alertness, and better perceptions. It is not clear though “ whether it is a real increase in alertness that contributed to increased performance or whether it is relief from withdrawal experience by subjects who had not consumed coffee before they arrived at the experiment location,” she said.

Either way, let me tell you, I’m all about the “But, First Coffee” lifestyle. Caffeinated drinks may as well be the social beverage that makes us feel better and enjoy the people around us. I mean, no wonder why we drink so much of it.

Carissa Dunlap is a Her Campus News X Social Intern for Summer 2018. She is a current Publishing major and Journalism minor at Emerson College (Class of 2020). When she isn't perusing the YA bookshelf at the bookstore, she can be found watching dog videos on Facebook, at her favorite coffee shops, or relaxing on the beach. Follow her on Instagram @dunlapcarissa or Twitter @Caridunlap.

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