Glass shape influences drinking behaviours in three laboratory experiments
Langfield T., Pechey R., Gilchrist PT., Pilling M., Marteau TM.
© 2020, The Author(s). Reducing consumption of drinks which contain high levels of sugar and/or alcohol may improve population health. There is increasing interest in health behaviour change approaches which work by changing cues in physical environments (“nudges”). Glassware represents a modifiable cue in the drinking environment that may influence how much we drink. Here, we report three laboratory experiments measuring consumption of soft drinks served in different glasses (straight-sided vs. outward-sloped), using distinct paradigms to measure drinking. In Study 1 (N = 200), though total drinking time was equivalent, participants consumed a soft drink with a more ‘decelerated’ trajectory from outward-sloped tumblers, characterised by a greater amount consumed in the first half of the drinking episode. In Study 2 (N = 72), during a bogus taste test, participants consumed less from straight-sided wine flutes than outward-sloped martini coupes. In Study 3 (N = 40), using facial electromyography to explore a potential mechanism for decreased consumption, straight-sided glasses elicited more ‘pursed’ lip embouchures, which may partly explain reduced consumption from these glasses. Using a combination of methods, including objective measures of volume drunk and physiological measures, these findings suggest that switching to straight-sided glasses may be one intervention contributing to the many needed to reduce consumption of health-harming drinks.