According to a study conducted by Dr. Angela Attwood and her associates from Bristol University’s school of experimental psychology, beer drinkers consume beer almost twice as fast from a curved glass rather than a conventional straight one.
Attwood’s research interests are in the effects of social drugs and drug-related stimuli, and the psychological and biological factors that underlie addiction and continued drug use.
Her recent research has included the effects of acute alcohol consumption on various aspects of social cognition, including ratings of attractiveness and the perception of emotion in facial cues.
In this study, researchers recruited 160 social drinkers aged 18-40 with no history of alcoholism. While viewing a nature documentary, they were invited to drink from either straight glasses or curved ones most frequently used in bars, clubs and some pubs.
It took on average nearly 12 minutes to consume 12 fluid ounces of lager from a straight glass. But from a curved glass it took seven minutes.
These results only took place when a glass was full, not with a half-full glass, and the results were not duplicated when a non-alcoholic beverage was used instead of beer.
“The people taking part were invited to a second session when they were shown various pictures of curved and straight glasses and asked to judge if they were more or less than half full. Those who showed the greatest error in their judgment of where halfway was in the curved glasses tended to be those that drank the quickest.”
Participants misjudged the halfway point of a curved glass more frequently than that of a straight glass, and the greater the error in judgement of the halfway point, the faster the drinking time.
The researchers theorize that beer drinkers pace themselves by monitoring the amount of beer in their glass and it’s more difficult to accurately judge the halfway point when drinking from a curved glasses.
Therefore, people are less able to accurately estimate how much they drink and drink at a faster pace.
According to Angela Attwood, who led the research, people often talk of pacing themselves when drinking alcohol as a means of controlling levels of drunkenness.
“I think the important point to take from our research is that the ability to pace effectively may be compromised when drinking from certain types of glasses.”
The Guardian’s Steven Morris points out that the study highlights how in recent years makers of alcoholic drinks have invested in interesting branded glasses to differentiate their products.
These include chalice glasses, curved beer flutes, tankards and novel curved glasses.