Say you are heading to a meeting and need to perk up a tad, and coffee is your obvious poison. But hang on just a minute before you load up on this bitter brew, for if you are an introvert, coffee may simply not work right for you!
Be kind, rewind, you might just say – and we’d be happy to. Certain theories, and even some research, points to the fact that introverts react differently to the same caffeine load than extroverts, and a last-minute perk might actually work against them.
Is coffee bad for introverts?
Dr. Brian Little, psychologist and author of the book Me, Myself and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being has suggested that introverts are already wired a little too optimally. So the discussion of whether coffee is good or bad is moot – coffee being good or bad is contextual. While a couple of cups of coffee often prove helpful for extroverts and help them be more efficient at their work, the same cannot be said for introverts.
The science behind it all
Dr. Little attributed his research to the theory of extraversion by Hans Eysenck and further research by William Revelle of Northwestern University. He went on to explain that introverts and extroverts differ not just in their behavior, but in the level of neocortical arousal in the brain. Introverts are already at the optimal level, and do are more alert and responsive to the environment already. On the other hand, extroverts do better with some added help in the form of caffeine in their systems.
For an introvert to have a cup or two of coffee before a high-pressure meeting or deadline could mean disaster; caffeine not only overstimulates them, but also makes them anxious, jittery, and unable to concentrate on the job at hand. Caffeine could reduce their efficiency rather than increasing it.
Is this bad news for caffeine-loving introverts?
Does that mean that introverts have to steer clear of coffee, even if they love it? Not so much. Introverts simply need to drink their much-favored cup at a more opportune time – perhaps when they are relaxing or are done with work, or have no major work-related moment coming up. For introverts, drinking coffee should be at a more restful time.
|||^||CBC: Me, Myself and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being|
|||^||NY Mag: When Introverts Should Avoid Coffee|
|||^||Inc: Introverts, Beware the Pre-Meeting Coffee|