According to a new British study, there is a direct correlation between music and the rate of alcohol consumption.
Dr. Stafford, of the University of Portsmouth, studied the effects of music on the taste of alcohol. His findings are that alcohol tastes sweeter when experienced in a setting with loud music and that the noise makes it difficult for drinkers to judge how much they’ve had.
Stafford: "Since humans have an innate preference for sweetness, these findings offer a plausible explanation as to why people consume more alcohol in noisy environments."
80 participants between the age of 18 and 28 had to rate a selection of drinks with varying alcohol content on strength, sweetness and bitterness. Some were given no distractions while others were subjected to club music. It turns out that the beverage was rate significantly sweeter when a participant was listening to music, compared to various other distractions tested for, such as reading a paper or listening to a news broadcast on TV.
Dr. Stafford notes: "Researching multi-sensory perception is a growing field of study and an interesting area to explore. Although individuals might well expect to consume more alcohol in club type environments anyway, it is important they understand how environment can potentially influence over-consumption and act accordingly."
The implications are far reaching. If music really does have such a powerful effect as this small-scale experiment seems to indicate -masking the alcoholic strength of a beverage and sweetening the taste- then bars, clubs and other such establishments could in fact be seen as contributors when people over-consume.
UKPA press release