Caffeine deprivation state modulates coffee consumption but not attentional bias for caffeine-related stimuli

Lorenzo Stafford, M. Yeomans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has shown that caffeine deprivation state can exert a strong influence on the ability of caffeine to reinforce behaviour. Recent work has also found evidence for an attentional bias in habitual caffeine users. It remains unclear whether deprivation state can influence attentional bias. Here we explored the relationship between caffeine deprivation, attentional bias to caffeine-related stimuli and subsequent caffeine reinforcement measured by consumption of coffee. In three experiments, participants (between-subjects: n=28; within-subjects: n=20, within-subjects: n=20) were preloaded with either caffeine (experiments 1 and 3 : 100 mg; experiment 2 : 150 mg) or placebo, and in experiments 1 and 2 they completed a novel attentional bias task involving preattentive word recognition, and in experiment 3 a dot-probe task. In experiments 2 and 3, this was followed by a test of coffee consumption. Greater recognition for caffeine-related words (experiments 1 and 2) and faster reaction times to probes replacing caffeine-related rather than control stimuli (experiment 3) confirmed caffeine-related attentional biases, but in no case was this affected by manipulation of caffeine-deprivation state. Participants in a deprived versus nondeprived state, however, experienced increases in drowsiness and headaches (experiment 2) and reduced alertness (experiment 3). Further, coffee consumption was greatest when participants were caffeine-deprived than when they were nondeprived. Findings are discussed in relation to prevailing theories of drug addiction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-571
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


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