Concerns about the increase in binge drinking among UK residents propelled a team of researchers at the University of Bristol to conduct a study on whether the speed at which a person drank was influenced in any way by the shape of the glass they were drinking from. Student subjects were given beverages — either lemonade or non-alcoholic beer — in straight-sided and fluted glasses and were observed while they watched a film. The amounts in glasses varied as well, with some filled while others were half-filled. According to the study, glass shape does matter: Subjects drinking from full fluted glasses finished an average of four minutes faster than those who drank from full straight-sided glasses.
Subscribe for counterintuitive, surprising, and impactful stories delivered to your inbox every Thursday
What’s the Big Idea?
“The researchers suggest that the reason people might drink faster from a fluted glass is because they incorrectly gauge consumption rate. Because of the wide top, an illusion is created that makes it difficult to discern pace; what looks like a half full glass for example, is more likely one that is closer to just one quarter full, meaning they’ve already consumed three quarters of it while thinking they’ve consumed just half. The end result is faster consumption, which could lead to binge drinking.”