A new study published in Behavioral Neuroscience by Temple University suggests that the caffeine in coffee does not sober you up when you are intoxicated. However, it will make you think that it has achieved a sobering affect.
The Temple University study was conducted on mice using a maze with negative stimuli such as bright lights and loud sounds. Those given only alcohol seemed to be more laid back, but failed miserably at completing the maze. The mice given only caffeine tended to preform better on the maze, but were found to be more uptight. The mice given an cocktail of alcohol and caffiene amounting to the human equivalent of 8 cups of coffee were both relaxed and alert, but also incompetent when it came to avoiding the negative stimuli of the test.
“The myth about coffee’s sobering powers is particularly important to debunk because the co-use of caffeine and alcohol could actually lead to poor decisions with disastrous outcomes,” says Thomas Gould, who conducted the research. He further went on to state that those who consume both “may feel awake and competent enough to handle potentially harmful situations, such as driving while intoxicated or placing themselves in dangerous social situations.”