Effects of caffeine on persuasion and attitude change: the role of secondary tasks in manipulating systematic message processing

Pearl Y. Martin, Victoria E. Hamilton, Blake M. McKimmie, Deborah J. Terry, Robin Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-338
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume37
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jun 2006
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • caffeine consumption
  • attitude change
  • secondary tasks
  • manipulate message processing
  • caffeine
  • counter-persuasion
  • systematic processing

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