For science! London university turns laboratory into a pub to study students' drinking habits


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The Independent Online

A British university has turned one of its laboratory rooms into a mock pub to investigate drinking habits.

London South Bank University has spent £20,000 on the transformation so psychology researchers can look into how much people drink and the effect rising drink consumption has on people’s brains.

The pub, named for its room number J-407, includes bar stools, beer pumps, beer mats and a fruit machine.

The project also uses hidden microphones and cameras so movements can be traced as volunteers are given drinks, some free of alcohol but with an ethanol smell.

Researchers believe that converting the laboratory into the fake pub makes it easier to look into the factors that drive people’s drinking as real pub distractions can make findings inaccurate.

Dr Tony Moss, head of psychology at the university, told the London Evening Standard: "What we are trying to do is simulate, with a greater deal of control, the environment in which people find themselves drinking.

"This is somewhere in between being able to do research in the real world in a bar — where we have very little control over what is going on — and in a lab cubicle, which is nothing like the way people are drinking in the real world."

He added: "It's relatively low cost. To be able to produce a facility like this is extraordinarily useful."

Masters student Karis Humphreys said: "It's easy to get other students to participate if you tell them alcohol is involved. We all drink a lot, so you can see the findings in your day-to-day life."