Effects of Different Sources of Low-Dose Caffeine on Mood/Arousal and Cognitive Performance

Christopher Irwin, Danielle McCartney, Gary Grant, Nathan Delang, Karly Bartrim, Gregory R Cox, Ben Desbrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we investigated the effects of variously derived sources of low-dose caffeine on mood/arousal and cognitive performance. Twenty-two participants (15 men, 7 women; M age: 28.2, SD = 9.0 years) undertook five randomized, crossover trials in which they consumed either a water control (CON) or 80 mg of caffeine from one of four sources (coffee [COF], energy drink [END], capsule [CAP], and dissolvable mouth strip [STR]). We measured the participants' perceived efficacy of these varied caffeine sources pre-treatment; and we measured mood/arousal at pre-treatment, and again at 15 and 45 minutes post-treatment. We also measured choice reaction-time at 15 and 45 minutes post-treatment, and participants completed the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) 45 minutes post-treatment. Caffeine increased participant ratings of alertness and decreased their ratings of tiredness irrespective of source ( p's < .05), and all sources of caffeine decreased reaction time on the PVT ( p's < .05), with ex-Gaussian distributional analysis localizing this to the tau-parameter, indicating lower variability. However, only the COF source was associated with improved 'overall mood' ( p's < .05). Participants expected to perform better on the PVT with COF compared to CON, but there were no other significant associations between source expectancy and performance. In sum, a modest dose of caffeine, regardless of source, positively impacted mood/arousal and cognitive performance, and these effects did not appear to be influenced by expectations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2022


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