Oct 212012

Drinking beer from a flute-shaped glass might rapidly increase your speed of drinking, making you become drunk quicker, according to research by British psychologists. Jim Drury has the story.

We all know that peer pressure can influence a beer lover’s drinking speed….. But now British researchers are claiming the shape of their glass may also be a major factor. In controlled experiments University of Bristol psychologists Angela Attwood and Professor Marcus Munafo served beer to students in either a straight or curved glass like these. They then tested where participants thought the halfway points were. The curved glass’s midpoint is more than three-quarters of the way towards the top, but most drinkers thought it nearer the middle. UPSOT: DR. ANGELA ATTWOOD TELLING STUDENT “Actually, you underestimated the midpoint on this glass.” As a result, those quaffing from the flute glass drained their receptacles 60 percent faster on average. Other volunteers were given soft drinks to consume from the same glasses. The findings mystified the researchers.

SOUNDBITE (English) CO-AUTHOR OF STUDY ON BEER GLASS SHAPE, DR. ANGELA ATTWOOD, SAYING: “What was particularly interesting about our findings were that these effects only occurred when the drink was alcoholic, so in this case beer. When the drink was a soft drink the glass shape seemed to have no effect, so participants were equally as fast drinking from the two glasses. It was only when the drink was alcoholic that we actually showed an effect of glass shape coming through.” What does seem clear from the study is that drinkers who believe their beer glass is more than half full, tend to consume it faster, as volunteer Emma Howell admits. SOUNDBITE (English) BEER GLASS STUDY PARTICIPANT, EMMA HOWELL, SAYING: “As the study showed, it’s a lot more difficult to judge exactly where the halfway point is on them type of glasses. Additionally, I find it more comfortable to hold a glass that shape, so I don’t know if that perhaps could play some sort of role.” Attendees at the recent Munich Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer fair, don’t have a choice of glass shape. Their one litre tankards are all straight, but they don’t seem to mind. UPSOT: DRINKERS CHEERING SOUNDBITE (German) TOBIAS EBERLE, FROM SWITZERLAND, SAYING: “The glass sits perfectly in your hand and when you pick it up the first time you don’t want to put it down again.” SOUNDBITE (English) ELEONORE RODGERS FROM AUSTRALIA, SAYING: “I like these glasses. I think this is the typical form that you see.” SOUNDBITE (English) SHANNON SMALL FROM AUSTRALIA, SAYING: “I have heard of the same study. It’s important to pace yourself sometimes. I know a lot of people they get drunk too early.” With binge drinking a growing public health issue in Britain, Professor Munafo wants his Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group to widen its research. SOUNDBITE (English) MARCUS MUNAFO, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGICAL STUDY AT UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL, SAYING: “What we’d like to do in the future is first of all to look at whether those effects generalise to the real world, so whether you see similar effects when people are drinking in groups, for example, compared to alone, but also look at whether anything we can do to correct those perceptual biases to make people more accurate in judging where the halfway point is on a curved glass.” But whatever type of glass they’re clutching, there’ll always be some drinkers who don’t care about the size or shape of the vessel – all that matters is that it contains beer. UPSOT: DRINKERS CLINKING GLASSES

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