Drinking coffee in a stressful meeting has become the standard of the American business. But is that such a good idea? It is now time to re-consider coffee if you’re a man and add it to the meeting mix if you’re a woman according to some surprising research from the University of Bristol.
University of Bristol researcher Lindsay St. Claire had 64 male and female study participants complete various construction puzzles, negotiation and collaborative memory tasks in same sex pairs after drinking an equivalent of 3 cups of either decaffeinated or caffeinated coffee (all participants were told the coffee was decaffeinated). The researchers elevated stress for some pairs by telling them they will shortly need to give a public presentation, and warning them that their participation fee will be dependent on how well they do.
Claire found that men’s performance on a memory task was “greatly impared” when caffeinated, whereas women were unaffected in the same circumstance. Most interestingly, for the construction task, caffeinated men under stress took an average of 20 seconds longer to finish the task than non-caffeinated men under stress, whereas caffeinated women under stress solved the puzzle 100 seconds faster than non-caffeinated women under stress.
Researchers think this gender difference in the affect of caffeine under stress has to do with the fact that women tend to respond to stress in a collaborative, mutually protective style, while men tend to exhibit a fight or flight response.
So the next time you’re going to a stressful meeting, if you’re a man, keep in mind that caffeine might undermine your performance and confidence during the meeting, so you’re better off not drinking it, and if you’re a woman, drink away!
Article image via Dom’s MFL Page.