A quiet drink is a slower drink
Looking to cut down on your drinking? Simple — choose a quieter bar.
That's the inevitable conclusion of new French research in which drinking patterns in bars with music at a background volume (72dB) were compared with drinking patterns at a high volume (88dB). When the music was louder the 40 individuals observed — all men drinking 'demis' (25cl beers) - downed more booze.
When the music was louder, men ordered more drinks (3.4 beers compared to 2.6) and drank them more quickly (11.45 minutes to 14.51 minutes).
Why? The researchers, led by Nicolas Gue'guen of the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, concluded that either the men were 'more aroused' by the music — previous research suggests that people eat and drink more quickly when fast music is played — or it could simply be that loud music reduces conversation so there's not much else to do but drink.
Interesting results or another triumph for the science of the bleeding obvious? Whatever it is, bar owners probably know about this effect already. One reader of the Daily Mail's online website where this story has also appeared wrote: 'I was a DJ in a large bar in the late 70s. It was obvious to both me and the bar manager that as the volume went up, people spoke less and drank more. The trick was to have the volume just below that which would cause the Police to ask us to turn it down. It's funny that it has taken 30 years for academia to catch-up!'
GuÃ©guen's article, which will appear in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, includes a fascinating summary of other research findings concerning drinking and music. These include:
- Men drink more when music is played than when it is not played.
- Men spend more on average on each visit to the bar when slow music is played.
- The one exception to the faster-quicker hypothesis appears to be country and western music. When this is played more slowly, people drink more quickly.
- People are more likely to order French wines when French music is played and German wines when German music is played.
- Playing drinking songs appears to encourage customers to stay in the bar longer
So there you are. Let's hear for it for the nice, quiet drink.
Page created on August 8th, 2008
Page updated on January 16th, 2010