I actually had to check the date when I read this article, because I thought it might be an April fools. I mean it’s pretty weird how the shape of the glass holding your favorite brew can affect how quickly you get drunk.
Beer drinkers in the United Kingdom are influenced by an optical illusion caused by the shape of a curved glass. According to a new study published this month (August 17) in PLoS ONE, certain glass shapes can actually make people down a beer more quickly, possibly contributing to the rising binge drinking problem in the U.K. that legislation has failed to control.
Apparently we’re a nation of binge drinkers, but it might not be all our fault. According to science, it’s the curvy glasses we imbibe our beverages of choice from, they trick us into downing our beer quicker, so, err, blame them, not us.
Different shaped beer glasses change the way the same volume of the golden liquid appears to the human eye, tricking you into drinking either faster or slower. Researchers from the University of Bristol found that curved glasses made people drink quite a lot faster than straight glasses, apparently based on the fact that it’s more difficult to spot the halfway point.
The study found that people pace their drinking speed on where they think the halfway point of their beverage is, which in a curved glass appears much lower down the glass than it actually is, meaning you drink your beer faster.
So, if you want to get people (your date perhaps?) drunk faster, give them a top-heavy curvy glass, and you’ll be getting lucky in no time.
Check out the full journal here. Or a brief all over below:
High levels of alcohol consumption and increases in heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking) are a growing public concern, due to their association with increased risk of personal and societal harm. Alcohol consumption has been shown to be sensitive to factors such as price and availability. The aim of this study was to explore the influence of glass shape on the rate of consumption of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
This was an experimental design with beverage (lager, soft drink), glass (straight, curved) and quantity (6 fl oz, 12 fl oz) as between-subjects factors. Social male and female alcohol consumers (n = 159) attended two experimental sessions, and were randomised to drink either lager or a soft drink from either a curved or straight-sided glass, and complete a computerised task identifying perceived midpoint of the two glasses (order counterbalanced). Ethical approval was granted by the Faculty of Science Research Ethics Committee at the University of Bristol. The primary outcome measures were total drinking time of an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage, and perceptual judgement of the half-way point of a straight and curved glass.
Participants were 60% slower to consume an alcoholic beverage from a straight glass compared to a curved glass. This effect was only observed for a full glass and not a half-full glass, and was not observed for a non-alcoholic beverage. Participants also misjudged the half-way point of a curved glass to a greater degree than that of a straight glass, and there was a trend towards a positive association between the degree of error and total drinking time.
Glass shape appears to influence the rate of drinking of alcoholic beverages. This may represent a modifiable target for public health interventions.