Effects of caffeine deprivation on taste and mood

Behav Pharmacol. 1994 Apr;5(2):111-118. doi: 10.1097/00008877-199404000-00001.


Despite its ubiquitous consumption in the natural environment, caffeine has not been a reliable reinforcer in laboratory settings. The reinforcing effects of caffeine are greater in caffeine-dependent subjects relative to non-dependent subjects, but the mechanism underlying this difference remains unclear. We hypothesized that deprivation from caffeine would produce alterations in subjective ratings of stimuli commonly associated with caffeine consumption. Specifically, we hypothesized that hedonic ratings of the coffee taste would be selectively enhanced following caffeine deprivation. Twelve regular caffeine users received acute doses of caffeine (300mg) or placebo after 33h of caffeine deprivation or non-deprivation. They rated the taste of coffee and sucrose, saccharin, and quinine solutions on intensity, bitterness, sweetness, pleasantness, and unpleasantness. Contrary to our hypothesis, subjects' ratings of the pleasantness of the coffee taste were not significantly altered by caffeine deprivation. However, subjects' ratings of the bitterness and sweetness of the coffee taste and ratings of the sucrose solution were altered by caffeine. Implications of these data for caffeine self-administration are discussed.