Going out for a drink can turn, for some, into one drink too many, but experimental psychologists at the University of Bristol say that it could just be a case of drinking from the wrong glass. Drinkers may be compromising their ability to pace their drinking by opting for curved-sided glasses rather than those with straight sides.
Social drinkers aged 18-40 were given the arduous task of drinking lager from either curved ‘beer flutes’ or straight-sided glasses. It was found that the participants took almost twice as long to consume the drinks in the straight-sided glasses. However, when the glasses contained soft drinks, there was no difference in drinking time.
Researchers suggest that this difference may be due to the fact that people use a variety of stimuli when drinking soft drinks, but are conditioned to gauge alcohol consumption using visual cues. When participants in the study were asked to estimate whether a curved glass was more or less than half full, those who made the greatest errors were those who had shown the largest discrepancy in drinking time.
The findings could be used to target problematic drinking, offering a simple strategy for alcohol control.
By Sacha Torregrosa-Jones