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Scientists Discover Loud Music Makes People Drink More

Bar drinks
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Drinking and driving is a dangerous combination. But how about drinking and decibels?

Well, at the very least, there could be a troubling connection between loud music and alcohol intake, according to a recent U.K. survey: If the volume is cranked high, then booze consumption can also go up — and the taste seems sweeter, too.

The person behind these findings is Dr. Lorenzo Stafford, a psychologist at the University of Portsmouth in England. He surveyed 80 regular drinkers — 11 men and 69 women ranging in age from 18 to 28 — and the participants were asked to rate the taste of various beverages containing alcohol while experiencing one of four levels of distraction. One distraction involved what was described as loud club-type music.

The results showed that sweetness perception of alcohol “was significantly higher in the music compared to control and other distracting conditions, which is a novel finding and to our knowledge, not seen previously,” he said. “It appears that our primary sense of taste is somewhat immune to very distracting conditions, but is indeed influenced by music alone.”

Stafford added, “Since humans have an innate preference for sweetness, these findings offer a plausible explanation as to why people consume more alcohol in noisy environments.”

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