Washington, July 19 : Love listening to your favourite song while boozing in a pub? Turn the volume up a little higher and you could be gulping down far more alcohol than usual, and that too in a very little time, says a new study.
Led by a Nicolas Gueguen, a professor of behavioral sciences at the Universite de Bretagne-Sud in France, the study of the effects of music levels on drinking in a bar setting has cited that loud music leads to more drinking in less time.
"Previous research had shown that fast music can cause fast drinking, and that music versus no music can cause a person to spend more time in a bar. This is the first time that an experimental approach in a real context found the effects of loud music on alcohol consumption," said Gueguen.
For the study, the researchers discretely visited two bars for three Saturday evenings in a medium-size city located in the west of France. There they observed 40 males between 18 to 25 years of age, without their knowledge.
The research mainly focussed only on those subjects who ordered a glass of draft beer (25 cl. or 8 oz.). After taking permission from, observers randomly manipulated the sound levels of the music in the bar (Top 40 songs) before choosing a participant. And when the observed participant left the bar, sound levels were again randomly selected and a new participant was chosen.
This led the researchers to conclude that high sound levels led to increased drinking, within a decreased amount of time. They also offered two hypotheses behind this phenomenon.
"One, in agreement with previous research on music, food and drink, high sound levels may have caused higher arousal, which led the subjects to drink faster and to order more drinks. Two, loud music may have had a negative effect on social interaction in the bar, so that patrons drank more because they talked less,"" said Gueguen.
He added: "We have shown that environmental music played in a bar is associated with an increase in drinking. We need to encourage bar owners to play music at more of a moderate level ... and make consumers aware that loud music can influence their alcohol consumption."
Results of the study will be published in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.