The Loh Down On Science

Shaping Up

A pub crawl for science?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Sure, sloppy public drunkenness is fun. But it can lead to social problems. ?So: how to get beer enthusiasts to drink less?

Enter psychologists from Britain’s Bristol University. They wondered if glass shape affects drinking rates.

To find out, they recruited 160 light social drinkers. Each imbibed either beer or a soft drink. The glasses? Either straight-sided or bell-shaped.

To disguise the study’s purpose, each drinker sat alone, watching a nature documentary. Thanks, Professor Buzzkill!

What happened? Drinkers with bell-shaped glasses downed their brewskys in about seven minutes. But beer in straight-sided glasses? Eleven minutes: That's almost twice as slow!

Soft drinkers took the same amount of time regardless of glass shape, so glass shape seems to matter more when alcohol is involved.

The researchers theorize that curved glasses make it harder for drinkers to gauge how much they've had. Serving alcohol in straight glasses might slow drinking rates.

Also placing those glasses in front of a live dartboard.  Just one other pub idea.

<em>The Loh Down on Science</em> is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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