New research from the Bristol School of Experimental Psychology found that people are more likely to misjudge their alcohol consumption based on the shape of their glass. In a study of 160 people, researchers found that people drinking from a glass with curved sides were more likely to consume alcohol faster and underestimated how much they had to drink.

In the research, participants drank almost twice as slowly from a strait sided glass as they did from a glass with curved sides. This phenomenon was only noted when people were consuming alcoholic drinks. Those people with non-alcoholic beverages drank the same speed regardless of their glass shape. People are also more likely to misjudge the halfway point on a glass with curved sides. The study found that the people who had the hardest time judging when a glass was half empty also tended to be the people who consumed alcohol the quickest.

Dr Angela Attwood, who led the study, said in a statement: "Due to the personal and societal harms associated with heavy bouts of drinking, there has been a lot of recent interest in alcohol control strategies. While many people drink alcohol responsibly, it is not difficult to have 'one too many' and become intoxicated. Because of the negative effects alcohol has on decision making and control of behaviour, this opens us up to a number of risks."

"People often talk of 'pacing themselves' when drinking alcohol as a means of controlling levels of drunkenness, and I think the important point to take from our research is that the ability to pace effectively may be compromised when drinking from certain types of glasses."

Overall, the researchers found that it took participants 4 minutes longer to drink alcohol from a strait glass that a curved glass. That means on average people drank 60% slower from a strait sided glass. Strait glasses also meant participants took more sips, paused longer in-between sips and generally took more time.

While this is not conclusive proof that strait sided glasses are better for controlling alcohol consumption, it does provide a lot of very compelling evidence. The study also shows that people have a difficult time judging just how much they have actually had to drink, which can have serious consequences. Next time you think about having a quick drink, it might be a good idea to think about the shape of the glass you take it in as well as what you are ordering.

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