Two experiments are reported that examine the effects of caffeine consumption on attitude change by using different secondary tasks to manipulate message processing. The first experiment employed an orientating task whilst the second experiment employed a distracter task. In both experiments participants consumed an orange-juice drink that either contained caffeine (3.5 mg/kg body weight) or did not contain caffeine (placebo) prior to reading a counter-attitudinal communication. The results across both experiments were similar. When message processing was reduced or under high distraction, there was no attitude change irrespective of caffeine consumption. However, when message processing was enhanced or under low distraction, there was greater attitude change in the caffeine vs. placebo conditions. Furthermore, attitudes formed after caffeine consumption resisted counter-persuasion (Experiment 1) and led to indirect attitude change (Experiment 2). The extent that participants engaged in message-congruent thinking mediated the amount of attitude change. These results provide evidence that moderate amounts of caffeine increase systematic processing of the arguments in the message resulting in greater agreement.
Source: “Effects of caffeine on persuasion and attitude change: The role of secondary tasks in manipulating systematic message processing” from European Journal of Social Psychology Volume 37, Issue 2, pages 320–338, March/April 2007
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