You don't even have to drink coffee to reap its benefits

Study says that smelling, seeing coffee is enough to help us focus more

By Angela Garrity, Guest blogger

The power of just mentioning or smelling coffee is enough to snap the mind and help conquer the task at hand – all without drinking a drop. While most would agree that functioning without that first cup of the day feels impossible, science comes through and provides another remedy for our morning routines.

Just the mere hint of coffee is powerful enough to invoke the magical bean’s powerful effect on our brains, according to a new study.

The study conducted by Monash University and the University of Toronto centered on a psychological effect called 'mental construal' that determines how individuals think and process information, including if they focus on narrow details or the bigger picture.

The results of the study found that priming people with coffee cues — exposing them to images, smells, and sounds related to coffee — increased their alertness, energy levels, heart rate, and focus.

Part of this psychological reasoning is because in western cultured countries, coffee itself is associated with being alert and productive, meaning we already associate it with these traits before even taking a sip.

"Our research can offer intriguing implications, as it relies not on physiology but rather psychological associations to change our cognitive patterns,"  Dr. Eugene Chan, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the Monash Business School said in an interview with ScienceDaily.

"This adds to the growing amount of literature documenting that the foods we eat and the beverages we drink do more than simply provide nutrition or pleasure —mere exposure to, or reminders of them, affect how we think," Chan continues.

The kick coffee gives us to wake us up and keep us focused, then, is not just from physically drinking it —  it’s psychological, too. Just the thought and expectations of coffee can get us ready to go.

Keep those beans handy next time a pick-me-up is needed.

Angela Garrity is a guest blogger for Death Wish Coffee Co. Her work can be found in Vapun Magazine as well as on their website

Related: The psychology of why we like coffee so much

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