Caffeine reinforcement demonstrated in a majority of moderate caffeine users

S. M. Evans, T. S. Critchfield, R. R. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A mutually exclusive choice procedure was used to evaluate the reinforcing effects of caffeine in eleven normal subjects with histories of regular caffeine consumption (mean 256 mg/day). Subjects participated for 24 weeks; each week consisted of three consecutive daily sessions (two sampling days followed by a choice day) during which subjects were required to abstain from dietary sources of caffeine. On each sampling day subjects ingested four capsules, one every 2 h. Capsules contained placebo on one sampling day and caffeine (50 or 100 mg/capsule) on the other sampling day. Placebo and caffeine were associated with different color-coded capsules. At the beginning of the choice day subjects chose one of the two color-coded capsules they wished to take on that day; they were required to ingest one capsule and, thereafter, they could ingest up to six additional capsules of the same color throughout the day. Across subjects and dose, caffeine was chosen over placebo on 80% of choice occasions; nine of 11 subjects (82%) chose caffeine on more than 70% of choice occasions and caffeine choice was replicable despite changes in capsule colors across blocks. This is the first study in a relatively uncontrolled outpatient context to demonstrate significant caffeine reinforcement in the majority of normal subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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