The Coffee-Slacker Connection

This is one of the funniest and most interesting scientific studies I’ve read in a long time. Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, wanted to study the effects of substances like caffeine on rats. Before doing so they arranged a variety of tests to determine the natural motivation levels of the rats. The scientists gave the rats the option between easy and difficult tasks with extra sugar pellets offered upon completion of the difficult tasks to determine whether they would naturally choose the easy route or the more rewarding one.

Just like humans, there was significant variation between the inherent motivational level of rats. Some were natural workers and others were serious slackers. The rats were divided into two groups based on their repeat choices: “Workers” and “Slackers.” Then they tested caffeine ingestion to determine whether there was any effect and whether the effects would be different.

Here’s what they found: “Workers” began to slack off after consuming caffeine. “Slackers” remained slackers regardless of caffeine ingestion. Caffeine could not motivate them. So, while there are some benefits of coffee drinking, motivation does not appear to be one of them. The lesson here:  if you’re trying to encourage someone to “get the job done” don’t buy them a coffee until after the task is completed.

The study is scheduled for publication in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

Related:
5 Alternatives to Coffee
10 Odd Facts About Coffee
27 Household Uses for Coffee

144 comments

Elisa F.
Elisa F.2 years ago

An iced coffee sounds pretty good about now.. regardless if it motivates me or not ; P

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey3 years ago

If they want to study the effect of coffee on something, try a human being. There's no rational, logical reason to try studies on non-humans, as they don't drink the stuff. Nor do non-humans work in the same way as we do...

Stupid science, carried out by stupid people, who think they're a cut above the rest...

Oh Lay Hoon
Oh Hui Xin3 years ago

I doubt the accuracy of this article, because they are using rats and not humans for this experiment

LMj Sunshine

Interesting.

LMj Sunshine

Interesting.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

interesting. but those poor rats :/

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

interesting. but those poor rats :/

Tammy D.
Tammy D.3 years ago

and the big jump of logic at the end of the article? a rat brain is the same as a human brain.
wonderful. it wouldn't surprise me if that ran in the journal of Neuropsychopharmacology as well.

Paula G.
Paula G.3 years ago

I am not a rat.

Dale Overall

No one is drawing lines in the dirt, another person commenting earlier simply stated that a comment by another calling Canadians "stupid" for x, y and z was not appreciated. I simply made a comment that in her country, which just happened to be Mexico there are virtually no cruelty laws concerning animals and not to point at everyone else. I never once said that any country is better than another and do not even believe in the concept of a nation being "the best in the world" since all nations have many things within that many are proud of.

As far as humans being arrogant, some are, some are not. There are arrogant and nasty people on the planet, kind and gentle, sociopaths who would leave you high and dry and sometimes dead while others would give almost everything off their back to help others in need.

Some commenters on Care2 also say that humans should be exterminated as they believe the entire human race is a blight on the planet and none should be permitted to live. One even called humans a virus that should be eradicated so that animals would be free to roam without interference. While humans have done a lot of damage we are still part of the world and unless we manage to destroy ourselves then we will still be part of the world.