Science Project:

Caffeine and The Placebo Effect

4.1 based on 14 ratings

Problem:

Do the expected effects of caffeine impact a person's physical response to coffee?

Materials:

  • Coffee, both caffeinated anddecaffeinated
  • Plain paper cups
  • Computers with internet access

Procedure

  1. Recruit your subjects: Find 20 participants, 10 should be regular coffee drinkers who drink at least 1 cup a day. The other 10 participants should not consume caffeinated beverages, including sodas and coffee, on a regular basis.
  2. Assess their physical and mental states: You should perform this task before any of the 10 coffee drinkers have their first cup of coffee for the day. Record each subject's score for each test. You can use these sites to test for concentration and accuracy: http://www.brainmetrix.com/concentration.htm,http://www.typingtest.com/\
  3. For both groups have each subject make a list of:
    • Their expectations of caffeine.
    • What will caffeine do to you physically/mentally?
    • What are the side effects of caffeine withdrawal?
  4. Distribute the coffee: Use caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Make sure they are the same brand and flavor. Pour 10 cups of the caffeinated coffee into plain paper cups. For the decaffeinated coffee place a small mark on the bottom of the cup so you know it is decaffeinated. Pour 10 cups of decaf into your marked cups. Set the coffee out on a table, mixing the two groups. Have each subject choose a cup.
  5. Allow the subjects ample time to drink the coffee (10-30 minutes). While they are doing this they can be reading, surfing the internet, doing homework, etc.
  6. Once they are done have them return the cup to you and write their name on the cup. Have them wait 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, administer the concentration, speed and accuracy tests again. Record each subject's score for each test.
  8. After taking the tests have them write down how they feel physically and mentally while they were taking the 2nd round of tests.
  9. For each subject compare their initial expectations with their reported conditions. Do they differ? Are they the same?
  10. Record the samples each subject drank using the cups.
  11. How do these results compare to the results of step 9?
  12. Compare the test scores between 1st and 2nd rounds for each subject.
  13. Organize your data into a chart and graph.

Speed & Accuracy Scores (wpm)

Caffeine Group

Pre-Caffeine

Post-Caffeine

Change in Score

A

45

49

4

B

53

58

5

C

36

41

5

D

46

40

-6

E

42

41

-1

F

50

59

9

G

40

50

10

Average

44.57

48.29

3.71

Placebo Group

Pre-Caffeine

Post-Caffeine

Change in Score

A

55

53

-2

B

35

36

1

C

52

50

-2

D

45

47

2

E

47

49

2

F

39

46

7

G

48

42

-6

Average

45.86

46.14

0.29

Author: Melissa Bautista
Disclaimer and Safety Precautions

Education.com provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. Education.com does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against Education.com that arise thereof. In addition, your access to Education.com's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by Education.com's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on Education.com's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

How likely are you to recommend Education.com to your friends and colleagues?

Not at all likely
Extremely likely