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The effects of caffeine on option generation and subsequent choice


Häusser, Jan A; Schlemmer, Alexander; Kaiser, Stefan; Kalis, Annemarie; Mojzisch, Andreas (2014). The effects of caffeine on option generation and subsequent choice. Psychopharmacology, 231(18):3719-3727.

Abstract

RATIONALE: Although the effects of caffeine on basic cognitive functions are well-known, its effects on more complex decision making, particularly on option generation, is yet to be explored.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the effects of caffeine on option generation in decision making using everyday life decisional situations.
METHODS: In a double-blind placebo-controlled experiment, participants (N = 47) either received 300 mg of caffeine or a placebo. Participants had to generate choice options (things they could do) for a series of high and low familiar real-world scenarios and, subsequently, to decide among these options.
RESULTS: Analyses revealed that participants in the caffeine condition generated significantly fewer options than participants in the placebo condition. Moreover, caffeine significantly reduced the option generation onset time, that is, participants in the caffeine condition generated their first option significantly faster than participants in the placebo condition. Regarding subsequent choice, we found evidence supporting the "take-the-first" heuristic, that is, the tendency to select the first generated option. This tendency was neither affected by caffeine nor by the familiarity of the scenarios.
CONCLUSIONS: Caffeine results in fewer options generated in unconstrained real-life decision-making situations and decreases generation onset times.

Abstract

RATIONALE: Although the effects of caffeine on basic cognitive functions are well-known, its effects on more complex decision making, particularly on option generation, is yet to be explored.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the effects of caffeine on option generation in decision making using everyday life decisional situations.
METHODS: In a double-blind placebo-controlled experiment, participants (N = 47) either received 300 mg of caffeine or a placebo. Participants had to generate choice options (things they could do) for a series of high and low familiar real-world scenarios and, subsequently, to decide among these options.
RESULTS: Analyses revealed that participants in the caffeine condition generated significantly fewer options than participants in the placebo condition. Moreover, caffeine significantly reduced the option generation onset time, that is, participants in the caffeine condition generated their first option significantly faster than participants in the placebo condition. Regarding subsequent choice, we found evidence supporting the "take-the-first" heuristic, that is, the tendency to select the first generated option. This tendency was neither affected by caffeine nor by the familiarity of the scenarios.
CONCLUSIONS: Caffeine results in fewer options generated in unconstrained real-life decision-making situations and decreases generation onset times.

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5 citations in Web of Science®
4 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:September 2014
Deposited On:16 Jan 2015 13:32
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 10:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0033-3158
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-014-3506-5
PubMed ID:24682504

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