Ever wonder why there is loud music playing in so many bars, even though it makes it almost impossible to have a conversation? Newly published research suggests one good reason: It inspires faster drinking, at least among young women.
That’s the key finding of a study from the University of Portsmouth, which found this dynamic was consistent whether the music playing was fast or slow. It is published in the October issue of the journal Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
Psychologists Lorenzo Stafford and Hannah Dodd report that, in their experiment, “music caused a mismatch between the objective breath alcohol levels and the perceived alcohol strength.” In other words, it appears to disrupt drinkers’ realization of their own level of intoxication.
Their small-scale study featured 45 female university students between the ages of 18 and 28. All were regular consumers of vodka-based drinks. They individually were summoned to a psychology department test lab, where they “were presented with a glass containing 275 ml of freshly opened WKD.” (WKD is a flavored vodka-based drink popular in the U.K.; it contains four percent alcohol by volume.)
After taking two initial sips and evaluating the beverage, the women were instructed to consume all of the drink while watching a DVD of The Blue Planet, a documentary about the history of the oceans. Some watched the visually stunning film in silence; others did so while listening to a piece of contemporary dance music, “Stress” by the band Justice.
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