This is a lab report that examines an empirical study of the role of caffeine in the human body and impact and reason for continuous consumption of caffeine. The research involves a study of 1060 respondents who are examined in various elements and aspects of the effects of caffeine on them.
The research identifies that there is an empirical evidence of an increase in energy levels amongst people who consume coffee. However, this change is not so large when compared to consumers of Rooibos tea. Also, the research indicates that energy levels are not significantly increased by people who take caffeine regularly. This indicates that caffeine tolerance is more of a physiological issue and people take it to feed their addiction. There is no evidence that supports the fact that caffeine addiction is psychological.
Coffee is the leading hot beverage bought in Australia with 2.1 billion cups being purchased a year . More cups of coffee are being purchased than ever before regardless of the increase in prices according to study done by the BIS Food Service Coffee and Beverages Report in 2012 .
Caffeine is associated with motivation and getting things done. It is a stimulating drug that affects one’s nervous system and brain. When caffeine enters the system it passes through the stomach, is processed in the liver and then quickly enters the blood stream carrying caffeine to the brain. Unlike other drugs caffeine easily slips through the brains filter, the blood brain barrier, once passed the cerebral cortex and into the central nervous system. Caffeine is believed to clog the adenosine receptors which normally trigger a sense of relaxation in the brain aiding the body to sleep . The effects of caffeine are felt almost immediately creating a heightened sense of mental sharpness .
Caffeine is found in coffee, certain teas, sports drinks, and many foods. A small dose of caffeine will help a person to feel focused whilst large doses may affect a person’s nervous system making him or her feel anxious .
The purpose of this experiment was to find out if tolerance develops for regular consumers of caffeine and to compare physiological and psychological theories of tolerance. This is to be done through an empirical study of students in the University of Western Australia (UWA) through a lab experiment.
In order to conduct a meaningful study, there is the need to conduct a brief literature review to identify authoritative definitions of key ideas and concepts in order to formulate hypotheses.
“Tolerance refers to the need for increasing amounts of a given substance in order to achieve the same effect.” Tolerance is therefore a situation where a person develops a kind of addiction that requires that individual to continuously consumer a given substance in order to attain the same level of pleasure.
Caffeine has been defined as an addictive product because of its chemical processes and its stimulation of the individual . This is because it causes people to become dependent on it and they crave for more levels of caffeine in order to achieve the same level of satisfaction.
“According to the conditioning theory of tolerance, the drug effect is viewed as an unconditioned stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response (acute tolerance) to counteract the drug effect upon repeated administration” . This implies that a drug is not addictive if it is not imperative for a person to take it. Hence, a person takes it just as a means of dealing with a particular sickness or disease. However, in cases where a person has a conditional desire and stimulus to take a given substance, that individual can be said to have developed a tolerance and this is tantamount to addiction in people.
A hypothesis is a tentative statement that is put forward by a researcher to test a given phenomenon . A hypothesis is a statement put forward prior to the commencement of a research and the essence of the research is to test its truthfulness or falsity. In order to conduct the study, the following hypotheses are deduced:
- Higher levels of caffeine consumption is associated with greater levels of energy acquisition which is linked to tolerance;
- Under the physiological theory of tolerance, tolerance is a function of repeated administration of a substance;
- Under the conditioning theory or psychological theory of tolerance, tolerance is conditioned compensatory response.
The study involves a field work that takes inputs from participants from the University of Western Australia. The participants’ details are taken and the regularity of their consumption of three different products: Caffeine, Decaffeinated products and Rooibos tea is recorded. This is meant to assess absolute elements and aspects of caffeine directly and also deduce relative and comparative aspects and elements of the use of other similar products.
With the data collected, the effects and influence of caffeine is studied in relation to energy levels and other tolerance processes and procedures. This is done through a statistical review of data including the total numbers of respondents, means, standard deviation, range and standard error. This produces an insight into the main findings and the main highlights of the research and its explanation of the variables.
The independent variable is caffeine intake whilst the dependent variable is the energy level changes as well as other inputs like the variables of tolerance and reactions of users.
Participants & Procedures
A total of 685 females, 374 males and 1 other gender were studied. This created a total of 1060 respondents in the study. They were categorised on the basis of their volume of consumption of caffeine and other products. This was done by taking submissions of the volume of caffeine, rooibos tea or decaffeinated beverage on the average each day.
Figure 1: Average Number of Cups Consumed by Respondents on a Daily Basis
The findings indicated that 375 of the respondents had 1.51 cups of coffee each day but this was from a range of 0 – 7 cups on an average day. This is a large average which indicates a wider and larger variation.
The mean for other cups (Rooibos tea and Decaf) were closer to the 1.55and 1.45 cups. This showed that the standard deviation is small and the differences between the various classes are much smaller and less pronounced.
The research sought to maintain a close variation during the experiments and participants were given similar numbers of cups during the experiment. The standard deviation and differences were not so large. They remained close and similar. This is the main number of cups that were taken during the experiments.
Figure 2: The Volumes of Beverages Consumed during the Study
The findings indicated that there was the need to analyse and evaluate the different components and aspects of the study and the research. In order to ensure a reasonable presentation of the main things detected in the study, a study on the impact of caffeine usage and energy levels was conducted
The first study involved checking the caffeinated beverage consumption and energy levels. The energy levels indicated that the mean energy for caffeinated respondents was 2.8 whilst that for decaffeinated was 2.52. The mean energy level for Rooibos tea consumers was recorded at 2.36.
In order to analyse this further, there was a review of the extent of the change in energy levels using the Cohen’s D. Cohen’s D provides an evaluation of effect size by evaluating the mean of one effect against the other. This was done statistically by evaluating
[(Mean of Caffeinated) – (Mean of Rooibos)] / [(SD Caffeinated + SD Rooibbos)/2]
This culminated in [(2.8-2.36)]/[(2+1.11)/2] which is 0.283, that shows that although there is evidence that there is an increase in energy levels, the increase in energy levels due to the consumption of caffeine is minimal.
Physiological Tolerance and Energy Relationships
This section of the research involved an analytical review of the level of changes in energy levels in users of caffeinated products. This involved an in-depth analysis of respondents who were given caffeine. They were classified into low caffeine users and high caffeine users. And the findings indicated that the low users had a mean energy increase of 2.93 whilst the high and regular consumers had a mere increase of 1.14 units of energy.
In order to test this, there was a comparison of caffeinate drink consumers and decaffeinated drink users. This showed a mean energy level of 2.8 for caffeinated and 2.52 for decaffeinated users. This showed a Cohen’s D of 0.1 which was significantly small.
The findings show that there is empirical evidence that people increase their energy levels by consuming caffeinated drinks. This shows that hypothesis 1 is proven because the use of caffeine increases in the level of energy in a person in the absolute sense. Albeit the relative increase in energy is minimal when compared to the increase in energy levels attributable to the consumption of the same levels of Rooibos tea or decaffeinated beverages.
Physiological Tolerance and Energy Relationships
The results showed that they fact that they regularly use it causes them to be somewhat less respondent to caffeine introduced to their system. This is mainly because of the level of tolerance. This shows empirical evidence that the respondents have developed some degree of tolerance and due to that, their body physiologically responds to the caffeine in their system through the high volumes of consumption. This is because on the Cohen’s D, there was a huge 1.03 difference between the two. This shows there is a large energy gap between the consumption amongst regular users versus non-regular users. This shows that tolerance develops as a result of physiological intake and continuous usage.
Owing to the fact that caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks are of the same components but different structures, it is apparent that there is a small change in energy levels. However, people will crave for the drink that is of the same formula as caffeinated drinks. This shows that the desire is not psychological but rather physiological because the people who will consume it because of the needs that the decaffeinated provides is almost the same and hence, they will want to consume that because of an inherent need to feed an addiction. However, this has little to do with the mind.
The study indicates that high levels of caffeine consumption are associated with higher energy levels that caffeine provides. This is because there is empirical evidence that an increased usage of caffeine enhances energy levels albeit with low relative levels of energy boost.
Physiological tolerance is proven in this study because people have a natural tendency to increase their intake of caffeine as a means of feeding an addiction rather than seeking to increase their energy levels. There are high numbers of people who consume caffeine because they have a stronger desire to continue drinking it to feed a need for energy and a habit.
However, there is no evidence that the tolerance of caffeine has a psychological backing. This is because most people who consume decaffeinated coffee attain almost the same level of results. Yet, they continue to go for caffeinated drinks as it meets their physiological needs, rather than their psychological needs.
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