Drinking tonight

Study shows shape of glass may affect how quickly you drink

There are many questions that float through the college student’s mind: “Will I do well on my next exam; will I be able to find a job; why is beer so much easier to chug out of a tube versus a glass?”

For that last question, researchers at the University of Bristol may have an answer.

In an experiment performed by researchers from Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology, 160 social drinkers aging from 18-40 were given drinks in two different sorts of glasses, one straight and one curved.

At first they were given non-alcoholic beverages and the shape of glass showed no significant difference for the drink. When it came to alcoholic beverages, however, those who drank out of curved glasses finished their drinks nearly twice as fast.

The hypothesis is that shaped glasses makes it more difficult to determine when one has consumed half of their drink. This would explain why non-alcoholic beverages were not affected by shape as there is no social pressure on pacing oneself with soft drinks.

The study also did a follow up session and showed participants pictures of beer glasses. Participants were not only less accurate in determining when curved glasses were half-full, but their degree of error correlated with their differing speeds of drinking in the previous session.

So what does this mean to the college student? Next time you’re out drinking but trying to be responsible about it, remember you are much more likely to drink quickly if it is difficult to determine that “half-way point” through your drink. We appear to be much more subconsciously concerned with how we drink in comparison to others than we realize.

“I’ve never really drank out of a curved glass,” Stephanie Davis, a Ferris second-year pharmacy student, said. “But I can kind of see it in a darker cup. It would make sense since you can’t really see how much is left versus a clear cup.”

If you plan on heading out for a few drinks this weekend, keep in mind your glass can and will affect how fast you’re drinking.