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Why You Always Empty Your Beer That Fast

Why You Always Empty Your Beer That Fast

beer, glass, shape, drinking beer,perception

Researchers from Bristol University’s school of experimental psychology have found that people drinking beer from curved glasses tend to drink it faster than those with straight glasses. This might be so because it’s harder to calculate the amount of beer in the curved glasses.

The researchers picked up 159 individuals, men and women aged 18-40, and asked them to drink around 0.35 litres (12 fl oz) of lager or soft drink, either from a straight glass or a curved one. Also, they were showed pictures of glasses and asked to determine how full they were.

In the case of people with soft drinks, there was no much difference between drinking from a curved glass or a straight one (around 7 minutes). But in the case of beer, people with curved glasses tended to drink it in 7 minutes against the 12 minutes of people with straight glasses.

‘Drinking time is slowed by almost 60% when an alcoholic beverage is presented in a straight glass compared with a curved glass,’ they write in the study. The conclusion is that ‘glass shape appears to influence the rate of drinking of alcoholic beverages,’ which ‘may represent a modifiable target for public health interventions.’

The paper is published in PLoS ONE.

Source: BBC News, The Guardian

Photo: stock.xchng/denius

Attwood AS, Scott-Samuel NE, Stothart G, & Munafò MR (2012). Glass shape influences consumption rate for alcoholic beverages. PloS one, 7 (8) PMID: 22912776

Jaime Menchén
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10 Comments

  • natalie adams
    September 4, 2012, 04:58

    Well, the it is the truth actually. It only depends on the glass of the drinker. But sometimes it is the amount of the beer in a glass.

    REPLY
    • Jaime Menchén@natalie adams
      September 5, 2012, 11:33

      Actually, as stated in the study, this effect was only observed for a full glass and not a half-full glass.

      REPLY
  • Alexa Hennessey
    September 4, 2012, 22:30

    I think you approached your question very wisely. You just followed the steps of the scientific method. You came up with a testable hypothesis; you designed a study to collect data; you analyzed the data to draw conclusions; and you reported the findings. I find this study very interesting.

    REPLY
    • Jaime Menchén@Alexa Hennessey
      September 5, 2012, 11:31

      I just wrote about the paper. To read the actual paper you can just click here. Also, you’ll find there information about the authors of the study.

      REPLY
  • Josh Burroughs
    September 5, 2012, 06:45

    I do not believe this article is completely accurate with what they are stating. Which is if a glass is straight then a beer will be consumed slower then a non- straight glass. The First reason I believe that these’s are false statement’s is because in the first paragraph it clearly states that it is hard to measure the alcoholic beverage in the curved glass just simply because it is curved. When conducting a scientific experiment you must be accurate with the data or chemicals being used, but with this scientific experiment it is simply based on how the beverage appears in the glass. So with that being stated, i believe that the scientist may just be asking these individuals how much more or faster they will drink a beverage, this can simply be explained as a placebo effect. Without knowing how much is in each glass and seeing a bigger or more heavy glass the individuals think them must be getting more for their money.(the beer is real, but how much the consumer get’s is incorrect).

    REPLY
    • Jaime Menchén@Josh Burroughs
      September 5, 2012, 11:28

      I believe, for what I read in the study, that people got their drinks without knowing what the experiment was about. The researchers checked how fast they drink, and then, in a second session, they checked the participant’s perception of how full the glasses are. The conclusion is that “glass shape appears to influence the rate of drinking of alcoholic beverages”, based on the first session (how fast people drank their beers). That it is hard to measure the aloholic beverage (which is the result of the second session) just builds up a hypothesis, but there may be other reasons as well.

      As described in the study (which you can read clicking here): ‘At one session participants were presented with a beverage and asked to consume this at their own pace whilst watching a nature documentary. These sessions were videotaped for subsequent analysis of consumptive behaviour. When they had finished the beverage, participants were given a wordsearch task that was included to disguise the aim of the study. During the other experimental session, participants completed a computer task designed to measure perceptual judgement of the fullness of each glass. A filler paper and pen task was included in order to further disguise the true nature of the study.’

      I hope this makes it more clear.

      REPLY
  • Jack Aidley
    September 6, 2012, 17:42

    Is it just me, or do those drinking times seem awfully fast? That’s George Best best session rate drinking. Now they weren’t given a good, honest pint but still seven and twelve minutes to drink a beer? That’s not a typical rate of consumption.

    That, in turn, leads me to question the applicability of the study to real drinking situations. Is it, in fact, simply measuring an artificial situation in which people are asked to drink rather than measuring real world behaviour?

    REPLY
    • Jaime Menchén@Jack Aidley
      September 7, 2012, 10:14

      Actually, you’re right, sounds like a pretty fast time to me, but I guess not so much to other people. What they drunk, though, is a little more than half a pint (at least according to the UK standards), so it may be not so much.

      Even if the situation is artificial, there are differences in drinking speed, and that’s what the researchers measure. It would be interesting to measure it in the real world, also to get more comprenhensive results, but still think that the study is correct.

      REPLY
  • Russell Bishop
    September 10, 2012, 15:13

    I might add to this that the shape of the glass will also either help or hinder the drinker’s ability to drink.

    With a large straight glass, you take it by the handle, which means you hold your entire drink in the weight of one hand. This tends to be fairly heavy and a little awkward (centering the weight of the liquid around your hand) and may therefore decrease the time you’re willing to hold up the glass, ergo drinking your drink slower.

    Whereas with the curved glass (such as that in the photo) you can hold a much easier grip around the glass with your whole hand, and the shape and diameter of the top of the glass will aid in drinking.

    Thoughts?

    REPLY
    • Jaime Menchén@Russell Bishop
      September 12, 2012, 09:47

      Yeah, I think that makes sense. The study suggests the perception factor, but the way you hold the glass may be important as well.

      REPLY