So Thirsty

Can glass shape really influence how much you consume of an alcoholic beverage? In an August 2012 article in PLOS One, researchers claim, yes. Yes it can.

The study conducted two sessions on 160 participants (50% male, 50% female) and measured two outcomes; total consumption of the beverage and the participant’s judgement of the half-way point of the glass.

Researchers used two glasses of equal volume (12oz), except one glass was straight-sided and the other had a curved flute. Participants were randomized to receive either 6 fl oz or 12 fl oz of lager or soft drink. Participants were also told the study was to examine the effect of alcohol consumption on wordsearch performance to exclude any reporting bias.

Participants consumed the alcoholic beverage 60% slower from the straight-sided glass compared to the curved glass. However, this outcome was not true for the nonalcoholic beverages, which were fairly equally consumed. Participants also misjudged the midway point of the curved glass more than the straight glass.

This is the first study to examine the influence of glass shape on alcohol consumption, most likely due to the misperception of the half-way point. The research is an important contribution to perhaps providing one possible, easy-to-fix solution for controlling high-levels of alcohol consumption.