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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2013 Oct;21(5):408-15. doi: 10.1037/a0034020.

Music increases alcohol consumption rate in young females.

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  • 1Centre for Comparative & Evolutionary Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth.


Previous field research has shown that individuals consumed more alcohol and at a faster rate in environments paired with loud music. Theoretically, this effect has been linked to approach/avoidance accounts of how music influences arousal and mood, but no work has tested this experimentally. In the present study, female participants (n = 45) consumed an alcoholic (4% alcohol-by-volume) beverage in one of three contexts: slow tempo music, fast tempo music, or a no-music control. Results revealed that, compared with the control, the beverage was consumed fastest in the two music conditions. Interestingly, whereas arousal and negative mood declined in the control condition, this was not the case for either of the music conditions, suggesting a downregulation of alcohol effects. We additionally found evidence for music to disrupt sensory systems in that, counterintuitively, faster consumption was driven by increases in perceived alcohol strength, which, in turn, predicted lower breath alcohol level (BrAL). These findings suggest a unique interaction of music environment and psychoactive effects of alcohol itself on consumption rate. Because alcohol consumed at a faster rate induces greater intoxication, these findings have implications for applied and theoretical work.

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