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Surprising Science

Study: Music In Bars Encourages Women To Drink Faster

A small-scale experiment involving female university students revealed that the presence of music, regardless of its speed, appeared to reduce alcohol’s mellowing effects, leading to faster consumption.

What’s the Latest Development?

University of Portsmouth psychologists Lorenzo Stafford and Hannah Dodd gave young female university students glasses of a popular vodka-based drink and asked them to consume it while watching a documentary. The film was accompanied by either silence or a slow- or fast-tempo version of a dance music track. The participants were then timed to see how quickly they finished their drink. Those who listened to music — regardless of its speed — finished faster than those who didn’t.

What’s the Big Idea?

The study, published in this month’s Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, is yet more proof that the ambiance or atmosphere of a particular location affects alcohol consumption. Stafford and Dodd write that the music seemed to “curb some of the sedative effects of alcohol” and, because the alcohol didn’t appear to give its normal mellowing results, drinkers “may have [been] led to a false appreciation of alcohol strength being lower than it actually was,” and thus drank faster. Although the study was small and limited to women, the team believe the results would be the same for men.

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Read it at Pacific Standard


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