Psychology In The Coffee Shop

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Student competition Psychology in the coffee shop T HIS drug permeates every level of society. Around the world people are gathering mornings, lunchtimes and afternoons for the consumption of the stimulant in brown, socially acceptable, liquid form. People drive, work and play under the influence. It’s found in factories, hospitals and even schools. It’s caffeine, of course. The chances are that you, reading this, are either about to have a cup of tea or coffee, or have just had a cup. The seeming ubiquity of the drug has not stopped further growth in coffee culture. The coffee shop has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity, repopulating the high streets of the UK, making us all familiar with the difference between a latte and an espresso, a cappuccino and a frappuccino. In the 1990s global sales of coffee leapt from $30 bn to $50 bn. (Although, we should note, the money received by growers dropped from $12 bn to $8 bn; see www.oxfam.org.uk.) Coffee contains the stimulant caffeine, which has neurophysiological and cognitive effects, but buying and drinking a cup of coffee happens within a wider social context. The resurgence of coffee shop culture might have major civic, social and interpersonal consequences far beyond just meaning that I can get a nice cup of Java pretty much anywhere I want. DAVE ROBERTS TOM STAFFORD, the winner in the postgraduate category, investigates the coffee break. in many secondary messenger systems at the synapse. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors and hence lessens the action of adenosine, increasing the rate of spontaneous firing, elevating mood, blood pressure, heart rate and gastric activity. The elevation of blood pressure caused by caffeine consumption has been shown to increase pain tolerance (Keogh & Gerke, 2001). This is just one of the many effects of caffeine consumption that are relevant to psychiatrists and

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