Introverted? Maybe You Should Lay Off The Coffee

Introverted? Maybe You Should Lay Off The Coffee Hero Image

It may seem natural to down a cup of coffee before work. You have a hectic day ahead of you, full of meetings and presentations. But not everyone can handle coffee in the same way — we reported last week that your DNA determines how much coffee your body can tolerate.

And a new book by a Cambridge psychologist Brian Little says that your personality type can predict whether drinking coffee will help you or hurt you. Apparently, introverts should consider staying away from that morning cup o' joe.

New York Magazine has more from Little's book, Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being:

After ingesting about two cups of coffee, extraverts carry out tasks more efficiently, whereas introverts perform less well. This deficit is magnified if the task they are engaging in is quantitative and if it is done under time pressure.

For an introvert, an innocent couple cups of coffee before a meeting may prove challenging, particularly if the purpose of the meeting is a rapid-fire discussion of budget projections, data analysis, or similar quantitative concerns. In the same meeting, an extraverted colleague is likely to benefit from a caffeine kick.

As Little explained to New York Magazine, introverts are naturally overstimulated by their environment, while extraverts are under the optimal level of stimulation. In other words, caffeine — or any other kind of stimulant — can make introverts feel overwhelmed in stressful situations.

So, if you consider yourself an introvert, be wary that coffee could be hurting your concentration when you need it the most. And if you just can't live without your daily cappuccino, Little suggests having it later in the day, and never before a high-pressure situation.

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