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Is Coffee the Persuasion Bean? 174

Gli7ch writes "According to an Australian study, our geek wonder-drink of choice might turn us into yes-men. From the article: "The experiments showed that "caffeine increases persuasion through instigating systematic processing of the message"." Apparently this has implications for the advertising world, "because it suggests that they should schedule adverts for times when people are likely to be consuming caffeine, such as breakfast time."."
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Is Coffee the Persuasion Bean?

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  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:01AM (#15237031) Homepage Journal

    Is Coffee the Persuasion Bean?

    Excellent question.

    I'd recommend sending $1.00 to paypal@grub.net. Will post the results in my journal later this week.
    • If coffee is the persuasion tool of choice, I suggest that you buy more coffee.

      brought to you by the International Coffee Board.
    • Why yes, it is morning where I am, and yes, I am drinking a cup of coffee.

      I'd recommend sending $1.00 to paypal@grub.net.

      Has it turned me into a "Yes Man"?

      Yeah. Riiiiiiiiiight!

      KFG

    • Ha! I've had one payment already! :)
      You don't want to be left out, send that dollar!
      • True story: A friend of a friend took out a small ad in his local paper (in South Carolina) that read simply:

        Last Chance to Send in Your Dollar!!!
        (Address)


        He ended up getting I think like $50, or at least enough to profit with the cost of the ad.
    • I believe it. I notice at work in the mornings when a coworker wants me to replace the motherboard in a system because he hates doing it... I usually tend to make him do it for learning purposes. But after a nice cup of coffee or two, I usually just do it without even answering.
  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:03AM (#15237045)
    Personally, I become overly chatty instead. This often leads to me speaking my mind more freely at meetings than I otherwise would. The little part of me that asks "should I really say that?" doesn't speed up as much as the bouncy part that says "What? That's a stupid idea! Let me share with the group."

    Needless to say, coffee turns me into a "WTF-man" more than a "yes-man".
    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:20AM (#15237211) Homepage Journal
      Personally, I become overly chatty instead. This often leads to me speaking my mind more freely at meetings than I otherwise would. The little part of me that asks "should I really say that?" doesn't speed up

      Irish cofees ARE delicious, but you shouldn't drink them before meetings : )
      • Why not?

        I always serve a couple of Irish Coffee to my clients before I push my junk bonds. You should see my new neighbour here in Jupiter, Fl... Tiger Woods... Thank you Irish Coffee!
        • Interestingly, in my semi-wild youth, several couples (and couples to be) used to down Irish Coffees and then go skinny dipping in the abandoned swimming pools on Jupiter Island during off-season. I don't know about becoming a yes man, but Irish Coffees produce the perfect combo of "sloshed to do something stupid, awake and alert enough to do the stupid thing well". Although looking back, I think the first time we were sober... which points out that the same state can be achieved just through being young,
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:03AM (#15237046) Journal
    Hey, it's a nice friendly article showing up at 8am! Sure, move all the TV ads to morning when I'm having coffee and those silly morning people are watching TV, and don't bother showing them in the evening when I'm actually watching TV - No problem!

    Of course, beer probably makes people more receptive to advertising as well; this could be a problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does this work with women?
  • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:03AM (#15237050) Homepage Journal
    This [suso.org] must be why I'm so impressionable then.
  • My answer is this. You catch me without a cup of coffee and I'm probably going to be tired and in a bad mood. I'll not only be bitchy, but way more likely to disagree with anything. With coffee I'm happy and it's all shmooth sailing. But then again by that logic it might be better to schedule advertising when I'm most likely to be smoking pot, or maybe smoking pot and drinking coffee at the same time.
  • by xIcemanx ( 741672 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:06AM (#15237071)
    ....all you need to do is to be told "don't drink coffee" while drinking coffee

    Brilliant
    • That is the same kind of logic you can use to blow up robots' heads should the ever revolt.

      But seriously I gave up caffine a few months ago and I don't think I was any more suggestable with it than I am now... but I guess that is part of the trick if you where in a stat of suggetability you wouldn't notice.

      • I gave up caffine a few months ago

        You can do that? By this point I think I'd shrivel up and die, since there's probably more caffiene than blood in my body.
        • Yeah it's not that bad really after the withdrawl symptoms pass, now the most caffine I drink is a small cup of tea once a week or so. The biggest benifit I have seen is that I have been sleeping better and therefor more alert during the day... go figure.
          • In my experience, the withdrawal symptoms can pretty much be taken care of with LOTS of water, some aspirin, mild to moderate excercise and a good deal of sleep. Unfortunately for most employed people who are caffeine addicted, this would take out a good portion of a week. A week that you would probably have to take vacation to get through. Difficult to actually focus on work, but if you don't mind a few days of being absolutely non-productive, the overall experience can be quite enjoyable.

            Now, this i
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nice try, but my head was built with paradox absorbing crumple zones.
  • but I don't know, I think the article is right, I have to agree.
  • I agree with this article and I have only had 7 double expressos this morning. Hardly a high dose of caffine at all.
  • Consuming coffee has become as ubiquitous as saying 'yes' to your boss. People consume it everywhere, at almost any time.

    By default, coffee has become the 'yes' drink when trying to pursuade, second only to Jack Daniel's.
  • by nekoniku ( 183821 ) <[justicek] [at] [infosource.info]> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:10AM (#15237103) Homepage
    That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!

    {slurp}

    ...no, wait, I see what you mean, now!
    • That shouldn't be funny, but I got a good chuckle out of it.

      Makes us interpret the message more systematically? Shouldn't it then also improve our BS-detection, thereby having an adverse effect on 90% of the advertising out there? This would mean car commercials would be run at times when people aren't drinking coffee, otherwise more people would start to wonder how the Camry, Accord, Legacy, Stratus, and Taurus can all be the JD Power best in their class.

      Also, I would tend to think that just being mo
      • otherwise more people would start to wonder how the Camry, Accord, Legacy, Stratus, and Taurus can all be the JD Power best in their class.

        All I know is that I drive a DODGE STRATUS and people are AFRAID of me!

  • I'be been getting it all wrong all these years. I've been thinking beer was the persuasion drink. Sheeeeit...
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:11AM (#15237119) Homepage Journal
    I'm a pot-a-day kind of man, and I loved my Senseo which runs overtime every morning. I have to think and type up to 2000 words every morning, and the days I am out of coffee are the days I don't think straight. It might be an addiction, but who knows.

    I would have to say that coffee does NOT make me a yes-man, as I've always been anti-authority and loved playing Devil's advocate. Maybe the article writer is confused; coffee might bring out our most consistent opinion or process. Does coffee make leaders more leader-like, and followers more follower-like? I'd say so.

    When I have performed public speaknig engagements recently, the coffee buzz always makes me a better speaker (and calmer, actually). I wonder if caffeine, the drug, just puts us into our most comfortable role as many drugs do (including following others if that is how we're designed).
    • When I have performed public speaknig engagements recently, the coffee buzz always makes me a better speaker (and calmer, actually). I wonder if caffeine, the drug, just puts us into our most comfortable role as many drugs do (including following others if that is how we're designed).

      Actually, becoming calmer on caffeeine means you have the neurological wiring for ADD.

      Good job.
      • Actually, becoming calmer on caffeeine means you have the neurological wiring for ADD.

        I do. The most productive years of my life were when I had a personal assistant helping me stay on track with my tasks and to-do lists. In recent years I've considered hiring a "Gentleman's gentleman" not just to drive me around and tend to me as a butler, but to be a personal assistant in my daily responsibilities. The added income I'd make just by staying on track would likely offset the costs of hiring a good assista
      • Actually, becoming calmer on caffeeine means you have the neurological wiring for ADD.

        Decaf seems to give me Tourettes Syndrome (characterized by loud, uncontrollable outbursts laced with profanity). Any diagnosis?

      • Either that, or he's so addicted to the plant-derived stimulant imported from Columbia that he becomes nonfunctional due to withdrawal when he can't get it.
    • Indeed. Teddy Roosevelt, just for another fun example, was well-known as a pot-an-hour sort of fellow (no exaggeration!), and he was anything but suggestable. Perhaps he too was self-medicating after a fashion.
    • The study showed that people were more likely to change their opinions in response to an essay when they'd had caffeine than a placebo. It doesn't say how that validated their explanation, but the first reason they gave was scientific jargon for "the people on caffeine actually read the essay", and the second reason was that they were happier.

      I haven't seen the original study, but these things are often done with a survey of opinions on a topic, with a bunch of gradations from "completely agree" to "complet
    • "I would have to say that coffee does NOT make me a yes-man, as I've always been anti-authority and loved playing Devil's advocate."

      Often, people viewing themselves as "anti-authority" and "Devil's advocate" are simply parroting (being persuaded by) a different group, and not actually self-directing.

      I have no way of knowing if this applies to you, but it is much more common than independent thought, so I thought I'd mention it.
  • ...and I'm always fighting against my coworkers and management...

    Maybe it's for the best. Anything else would be too much Invasion of the Body Snatchers for my tastes...
  • by Zephyros ( 966835 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:13AM (#15237139)
    So if coffee is a yes-drink...and alcohol is a yes-drink...screw pheromones. We need to start buying women coffee martinis. There's the real liquid panty remover.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:14AM (#15237154)
    I knew there was some reason I had an insatiable desire to see "Akeelah and the Bee"...
  • Real men don't get out of bed for anything less than high powered stimulants.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methcathinone [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphetamine [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methylphenidate [wikipedia.org]
  • Me: Will you marry me?
    Girlfriend: Hell no!
    Me: Aww, please will you marry me?
    Girlfriend: Dammit! I said no!
    Me: Okay, how about a nice espresso (or two)?
    Girlfriend: Okay sure.
    (Ten minutes later)
    Me: Will you marry me?
    Girlfriend: Well, that makes a lot of sense now.
    Me: (Giggles).

    Three years later, I need coffee to stay awake with a wife, a kid, and another on the way.

    Damn you coffee!
  • ... our new coffee overlords! (mod -1 for "predictable")
  • Two problems (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:21AM (#15237220) Homepage Journal
    The article doesn't say what kind of "persuasive argument" it was. If it was a logical argument, then this study boils down to "people with two cups of coffee in them follow logic better".

    What bothers me more is that the topics chosen are highly emotional ones. People get so fanatical about them that they resort to assassination and fire bombing. The study purports to show that people changed their minds about euthanasia and abortions. Would you, in repsonse to a single argument from a stranger? Would anyone you know?
    • The statement, "caffeine increases persuasion through instigating systematic processing of the message," sounds to me like it makes people think through what they hear. They're logically thinking about a message. How that means they're generically more persuaded to say "yes" I have no idea.
    • Would you, in repsonse to a single argument from a stranger? Would anyone you know?

      It is extremely unlikely that I would; generally I've heard all the arguments before. (People often mistake that for "arrogance" or "close-mindedness", but it is neither to hear all arguments and make a decision; after that, if you want to change someone's mind you'd better improve the arguments somehow, either by making them better or making news ones, or you're not going to get far.)

      However, many people don't think issues t
    • If that single argument was sound, and I happened to have held an erroneous position, then, yes, I'd change my mind. The number of arguments I'm presented with and the degree to which I know the speaker has nothing to do with how true or false the idea in question is.
  • I guess we are 'goto hell men'. :)
  • is this is a reason, why bookstores contain coffee shops?
    I noticed several times myself, that after a latte,
    I'm more likely to buy a book.
  • Oh, this is good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Joebert ( 946227 )
    YOU: "Want to go out to the club, have a few drinks ?"
    HER: "No, I don't drink..."
    YOU: "Want to go have a few cups of coffee then ?"
    HER: "Sure why not."

  • They better sell those "can't change channels during commercial breaks" TV-s with lots of coffee then.

    Also, to make sure this works, not only should ads be aired while we drink coffee, they need to make sure we can only buy it during those times, and if they offer money back guarantee, only use it and return it
    during those times.

    -- fast rewind 10 years --

    "You hate commercials don't you. They are a pain to watch, we all feel that way. But that's over with! Presenting the new TV-chair 3000, ultra comfortable
  • ... in the way you're looking at this.

    According to an Australian study, our geek wonder-drink of choice might turn us into yes-men.

    Try stating it this way:

    According to an Australian study, our geek wonder-drink of choice might turn them into yes-women.

    Next time you're hitting that bar think of buying her a drink as the reason for following up with a coffee later.

    /cheek.remove(tongue)

  • I doubt this will impact how marketers choose their time slots. The response of people to ads is already one of the most observed and studied topics on the planet. If people are more receptive to ads in the morning, you can bet the marketing folks have already cottoned on to that fact.

    There is still the problem of timing. Some groups of people aren't targetable at the times they're most likely to be receptive. But ad firms are making inroads. I was surprised (not pleasantly) to discover bulletin boards
  • Associate Professor Pradeep Nathan of Monash University, an expert in behavioural neuroscience who was not involved in the research, says caffeine stimulates the central nervous system including the brain, where it affects several neurotransmitters.

    The Melbourne-based researcher says it improves memory and makes us pay closer attention to tasks at hand.

    "It does improve attention and it can improve memory so by being more attentive and remembering your attitude to a particular thing may change," he

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:36AM (#15237343) Homepage
    This is not very different from saying that people with presbyopia are more likely to be persuaded by print advertising when they are wearing their reading glasses. Or that people are more likely to be persuaded by loud commercials than soft ones. Or that people who listen to radio are more likely to be persuaded by radio ads than people who do not listen to radio.

    Obviously you are more likely to be persuaded by a message to which you are paying attention, focussing on, are awake for, etc. etc. That is, if the message is persuasive. You're also more likely to exercise critical acumen on a message to which you are paying attention.

    This doesn't mean caffeine is some evil zombie-making, will-sapping, mysterious persuasion drug. It just means, surprise--in some situations caffeine makes us more alert.

    It certainly does not mean "coffee makes us say 'yes.'" Try another study in which people are asked to read a contract containing some sneaky buried one-sided details that work against their interests. Ask them to review it with and without coffee. I'll bet that coffee helps them notice those details... and that in this case, coffee will "make them say no."
    • A contract isn't a persuasive form of communication. If the results of the study say that caffeine makes a person more susceptible to persuasion, presenting a caffeinated person with a non-persuasive document could not disprove that conclusion.

      Now, what about the sales pitch leading up to the presentation of the contract...
  • No-man (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Asicath ( 522428 ) on Monday May 01, 2006 @10:40AM (#15237368) Homepage
    Maybe it's the reverse?

    Without coffee I'm grumpy in the morning and more likely to be a no-man. Coffee just turns me normal.
  • I guess that explains why Nigerian scammers send faxes to the workplace overnight for people to read in the morning ;-)

    *slurps coffee* "Oooh I can be a millionaire by Friday???"
  • They in for a big disappointment - I know I'll find ads no less detestable after a cup of coffee than I do any other time of the day.

    I don't really mind that businesses have products and services to sell, what I mind is that their efforts to sell them are so invasive, and so pervasive, that it is a complete turnoff.
  • Okay, here I am on my 4th or 5th cup of coffee, and I disagree, vehemently! So how's that for being a "Yes Man"?

    I agree it may make us more apt to listen and understand, but you have to keep in mind, the average person is a sheep. They follow along. Coffee may just make them more likely to listen, so it seems they're more apt to agree.

    I think if you take people who tend to not be sheep and give them coffee, they'll just tend to not go along more because they'll actually be listening to the crap that's being
  • Fans of The Shield [fxnetworks.com] will of course know that Juicy Fruit [juicyfruit.com] is the persuader of choice. Quoth Lt. Jon Kavanaugh "It's a fresh pack..."

  • As I sit here, sipping my second cup of coffee for the day, I'm thinking back to earlier this morning when, like every morning, I read my email and my Bloglines as I drink my first cup of coffee. Now, I always have my coffee first thing -- OK, maybe second thing -- in the morning. (If you can believe it, I'm usually even coordinated enough to make a passable latte) In my perpetually sleep-deprived state, I'll believe anything right after I get up.

    It's not the coffee that makes me suggestible, it's the sl

  • ...that I welcome our new dark roasted overlords.
  • If this were true then George Bush should have swept Seattle in the last two elections.
  • According to an Australian study, our geek wonder-drink of choice might turn us into yes-men.

    Yes, I agree completely!

    Well, off to Starbucks, it's 11:26, and my personal coffee pot is already empty. ;-)
  • This is how I read the report.

    1) Don't drink coffee.

    2) Expect to be spammed to death around coffee times.

    3) Co-workers will be more susceptible when I See them with thier coffee.

    4) Marketing companies suggest putting coffee into foodstuffs/water supply (give them time).
  • First off, they should start advertising the health benefits of coffee or tea enemas while people are consuming their morning caffeine. Once you have your audience primed, that is if you can persuade people to put coffee up their ass, they'll buy anything.
  • According to TFA, caffeine does two things:
    1. Make one pay more attention (duh)
    2. Put one in a better mood (double duh)

    The hardest tasks you have when trying to persuade someone are:

    1. Getting them to pay attention
    2. Not pissing them off before they've heard and processed your argument

    So, perhaps coffee is useful for persuasion. The connection between persuasion and "yes-men", though, is spurrious at best. Essentially, TFA is saying that caffeine helps people listen to -- and makes them slightly more open-minded towa

    • So, perhaps coffee is useful for persuasion. The connection between persuasion and "yes-men", though, is spurrious at best. Essentially, TFA is saying that caffeine helps people listen to -- and makes them slightly more open-minded towards -- arguments.

      I just finished a cup of coffee and I have to say that after hearing your argument out it seems pursuasive. I'm definately in a better mood any way. I'm inclined to agree with you.

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