You’re expecting an afternoon meeting to be stressful and charged with emotion. Should you provide coffee for your boss and the other meeting attendees? Or is all that caffeine likely to do more harm than good?
According to a new study published in BPS Research Digest, for two men collaborating or negotiating under stressful conditions, consuming caffeine made things worse. It undermined both their performance and confidence.
But interestingly, the effect was reversed for pairs of women. It had a beneficial effect.
Researchers think the difference may have to do with the way women respond to stress by becoming more collaborative and mutually protective (known as “tend and befriend”).
Men, on the other hand, revert to a “fight or flight” response when faced with stress.
Bottom line: Coffee helps women cope with stressful meetings but has the opposite effect on men. Serve with caution.