Serving coffee at meetings can focus discussion and boost involvement 

Is serving coffee the secret to a productive meeting? Researchers say it can ‘focus group discussion and boost involvement’

  • Study from UC Davis has examined the effects of caffeine on group performance
  • Researchers found that coffee can focus group discussion, boost involvement and leave members feeling better about their own and others’ participation
  • Discovered the increased level of alertness as the mechanism for positive effects

While it’s well-established that coffee can be good for you, new research has found that serving coffee at a meeting can focus group discussion, boost involvement, and leave members feeling better about their own and others’ participation.

A new study from the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis has examined the effects of caffeine on group performance.

Decades of coffee research have explored its effects on the individual, but this study is the first on the effects on performance in group tasks.  

A new study has examined the effects of caffeine on group performance. They found that coffee can focus group discussion, boost involvement and leave members feeling better about their own and others’ participation

‘If you look at where coffee’s being consumed, a significant amount happens in group settings,’ said Rao Unnava, dean of the management school and co-author of the study with Vasu Unnava, an adjunct assistant professor at the school and his wife. 

The researchers conducted two separate studies of 70 undergraduates at a large Midwestern university. 

In the first experiment, small groups had coffee together about 30 minutes before discussing an article about the Occupy movement and making recommendations about the topic’s inclusion in a competition for discussion topics in graduate school. 

Other groups had their coffee after the discussion.

Participants who had the coffee before the discussion rated their groups’ and their own performance more positively. 

In order to determine if the results came from the caffeine, or rather the simple act of consuming a beverage together, the second experiment gave some groups caffeinated coffee and some decaf.

The groups who had the caffeinated coffee rated their own participation and their attitude toward group members more positively than those who had the decaffeinated coffee. 

HOW IS COFFEE GOOD FOR YOU? 

  • Drinking three coffees a day could help you live longer, research has found
  • Drinking four cups of coffee a day almost halves the risk of deadly mouth cancer
  • Research found that those who had a cup of coffee one hour before a work-out could exercise for longer
  • Coffee helps you lose weight because it contains several substances that can affect your metabolism
  • It is a natural painkiller, especially espresso
  • It helps headaches. The combination of aspirin and caffeine has been found to relieve pain better than aspirin alone
  • Research has demonstrated that coffee drinking may help reduce cognitive decline and dementia
  • Drinking more coffee may help stave off liver cancer, a study found

They also expressed more of a willingness to work with the group again and a higher level of alertness.

Additionally, coding of audio recordings from the discussions showed that the groups that had caffeinated coffee generated more statements relevant to the topic. 

The researchers determined that the increased level of alertness resulting from the caffeine as the mechanism for the positive effects, rather than the caffeine itself.

‘Coffee With Co-workers: Role of Caffeine on Evaluations of the Self and Others in Group Settings,’ is the first research study by management school professors to be published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, an international scientific journal. 

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