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Using Caffeine Pills for Performance Enhancement

  • Recent research has indicated that university students sometimes use caffeine pills for neuroenhancement (NE; non-medical use of psychoactive substances or technology to produce a subjective enhancement in psychological functioning and experience), especially during exam preparation. In our factorial survey experiment, we manipulated the evidence participants were given about the prevalence of NE amongst peers and measured the resulting effects on the psychological predictors included in the Prototype-Willingness Model of risk behavior. Two hundred and thirty-one university students were randomized to a high prevalence condition (read faked research results overstating usage of caffeine pills amongst peers by a factor of 5; 50%), low prevalence condition (half the estimated prevalence; 5%) or control condition (no information about peer prevalence). Structural equation modeling confirmed that our participants’ willingness and intention to use caffeine pills in the next exam period could be explained by their past use ofRecent research has indicated that university students sometimes use caffeine pills for neuroenhancement (NE; non-medical use of psychoactive substances or technology to produce a subjective enhancement in psychological functioning and experience), especially during exam preparation. In our factorial survey experiment, we manipulated the evidence participants were given about the prevalence of NE amongst peers and measured the resulting effects on the psychological predictors included in the Prototype-Willingness Model of risk behavior. Two hundred and thirty-one university students were randomized to a high prevalence condition (read faked research results overstating usage of caffeine pills amongst peers by a factor of 5; 50%), low prevalence condition (half the estimated prevalence; 5%) or control condition (no information about peer prevalence). Structural equation modeling confirmed that our participants’ willingness and intention to use caffeine pills in the next exam period could be explained by their past use of neuroenhancers, attitude to NE and subjective norm about use of caffeine pills whilst image of the typical user was a much less important factor. Provision of inaccurate information about prevalence reduced the predictive power of attitude with respect to willingness by 40-45%. This may be because receiving information about peer prevalence which does not fit with their perception of the social norm causes people to question their attitude. Prevalence information might exert a deterrent effect on NE via the attitude-willingness association. We argue that research into NE and deterrence of associated risk behaviors should be informed by psychological theory.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Ralf BrandORCiDGND, Helen Koch
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus4-90506
Subtitle (English):An Experimental Study on University Students’ Willingness and Their Intention to Try Neuroenhancements
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Humanwissenschaftliche Reihe (286)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2016
Year of Completion:2016
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2016/05/12
Tag:attitude; doping; prevalence information; prototype-willingness-model; social reactivity
Funder:Universität Potsdam, Publikationsfonds
Grant Number:PA 2016_05
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Strukturbereich Kognitionswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
Notes extern:Bibliographieeintrag der Originalveröffentlichung/Quelle