Uncle Science has been kind to us this summer, telling us to eat chocolate and assuring us that winos won't get sunburned. Now, we can switch to decaf. A study conducted by the University of London showed that the invigorating, eye-opening gift of coffee may just be a placebo effect. However, the sense of self-satisfaction that one feels when ordering a plain coffee after someone orders a decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte, is very real.
According to MSNBC, 88 students aged 18 to 47 were split into groups that drank regular or decaf. Some knew the identity of their brew, some were lied to. After drinking the coffee for five minutes, the test subjects "then chilled for 55" (actual news quote!) before taking a card-sorting task.
Those who were told they were drinking caffeine when they were actually drinking decaf performed equally as well as those who were told they were drinking decaf but actually had regular. "While students in all…groups reported feeling more depressed over the course of the testing," those who drank or thought they drank caffeine felt slightly better, probably because it's pretty tough to get excited about "card-sorting tasks" unless you're on the sauce.