One too many cups of Java in a day might make you hear voices, according to a recent Australian study.
Ninety-two people took part in a study that measured the effect of caffeine on their auditory perception (the way they hear things). Subjects that reported drinking 5 or more cups of coffee a day and being very stressed out, were more likely to have experienced auditory hallucinations.
The study method was fairly simple, each subject was told to put on headphones and listen to white noise. They were told to let researchers know every time they heard a snippet of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” by pressing a button.
It was never played – but the over-caffeinated over-stressed group said they heard it.
The conclusion of Simon Crowe, the lead neuroscientist in the study, is that caffeine and stress make people hear things.
But you have do have to ask what part suggestibility had to play in the whole thing. Would these people have reported hearing something if they weren’t told it was there? Maybe all of the over-stressed coffee-lovers were just eager to please; or maybe, just maybe it was stress that led to the auditory hallucinations.