Science Nerds Say You Actually Don’t Really Like Coffee

Do you like coffee or do you just want it? Put another way, do you drink coffee for the pleasure of it or is it something more functional, something associated with the addictive qualities of caffeine? A new study finds that “heavy coffee drinkers” want coffee more than they actually like drinking it.

The premise is absurd of course. Coffee in all forms is delicious, and if you don’t like an objectively good tasting thing, then you are on the side of evil and may god have mercy on your soul. But let’s humor these Cubik’s Rubes for a bit.

As reported by The Ladders, the study was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology and is the product a team of researchers led by Nicolas Koranyi at the University of Jena in Germany. To determine whether one’s coffee affinities are need- or enjoyment-based, researchers had 56 German students—24 “heavy” coffee drinkers, those who have three or more cups a day, and 32 “low/non-consumers,” who have one or fewer a day—complete two versions of an Implicit-Association Test (IAT). This type of test used in social psychology to “detect the strength of a person’s subconscious association between mental representations of objects (concepts) in memory,” per Wikipedia. The test works by showing participants words or images on a screen and then asking participants to categorize them using specific keys on a keyboard. The amount of time it takes for participants to correctly categorize the images, according to Psychological Science, “[sheds] light on the mental associations they make, even when they aren’t aware of them.”

To determine how much they “liked” coffee, subjects were shown images of juice and coffee and then positive or negative images, like puppies or human skulls, and asked to categorize them. The researchers would then compare the speeds at which subjects were able to correctly categorize instances when coffee and positive images shared a key verse when coffee and negative images shared a key.