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J Hist Behav Sci. 1991 Jan;27(1):42-55.

Coca-Cola, caffeine, and mental deficiency: Harry Hollingworth and the Chattanooga trial of 1911.

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  • 1Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.


Harry Hollingworth's 1911 investigation of the behavioral effects of caffeine is one of the earliest examples of psychological research contracted by a large corporation. The research was necessitated by a federal government suit against the Coca-Cola Company for marketing a beverage with a deleterious ingredient, namely, caffeine. Although Hollingworth's research played little role in the outcome of the Coca-Cola trials, it was important as a model of sophistication in experimental design. As such, it set a standard for psychopharmacological research. It also was particularly important in directing Hollingworth toward a life-long career in applied psychology.

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