Do you feel like you need a pick-me-up? Need something to sharpen your wits and get your brain working at full steam? Why not think about grabbing a nice hot coffee?
No, don’t actually go and get one. I mean, why not think about getting one? That’s all it takes, according to new and thrilling research from the science journal Consciousness and Cognition, which suggests that just thinking about a caffeinated beverage can boost brain function.
Naturally, this is incredible news for all those people who crave the cognitive benefits of coffee without having to actually drink the revolting slop. Or just for anyone who likes saving time.
The scientists conducted four experiments to compare the levels of “arousal” and “mental construal” between people exposed to coffee and tea-related cues – that is, being put in mind of the drinks without necessarily actually consuming them.
The results were exciting: exposure to coffee cues, the researchers found, “can lead to concrete construal via greater arousal”. Or, in non-nerdspeak, when people thought about coffee, their brains worked more good. And this occurred without the subjects actually taking a single sip.
Now, everyone has always known that coffee can give your grey matter a nice kickstart. But it’s a bit of a turn-up to find that it can do so without ever coming into contact with your insides. The only thing left to find out is whether it works with other drinks. If you can get drunk by thinking about beer, that changes everything.