Australian scientists led by Pearl Martin, from the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, conducted two experiments involving about 140 students, according to the online edition of The Sydney Morning Herald.
The students were questioned about how they viewed voluntary euthanasia and abortion. They were then asked to read persuasive messages about the subject that were opposed to their opinions.
Before reading the arguments, they were asked to drink either straight orange juice or juice laced with the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee.
The scientists tested them again on their attitude to the controversial topics.
Under non-distracting conditions, caffeine increased the chances of the students changing their point of view, the study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology said.
However, the researchers said caffeine had a pronounced effect only when volunteers were forced to focus on and assimilate the persuasive argument. When their attention was deliberately reduced, or they were distracted, their attitude was less likely to change.
Previous research has suggested that caffeine increases the brain's ability to process information. This in turn may be instrumental in producing a change in attitude.
Another possibility is that caffeine can make someone open to persuasion by improving mood. It is well known that people in a positive mood are more likely to agree with any message they are presented with, the researchers said.
(Source: IANS News)