Choose carefully the music you listen to when you drink alcohol

Choose carefully the music you listen to when you drink alcohol

When it comes to alcohol, it’s all a question of taste. Some show a preference for sweet alcoholic drinks, while others prefer more bitter beverages. If sensitivity to different flavors varies between people, it seems that music influences our perception of alcohol.

In any case, this is what several scientific studies say. Their authors noted that alcohol does not have the same taste depending on the musical atmosphere in which it is tasted. For good reason, our brain assigns certain frequency ranges, tempos, harmonies and timbres to different taste attributes.

A European research team had proof of this in 2016, after conducting an experiment with 231 beer lovers. The researchers found that volunteers who drank their beer with music playing in the background tended to enjoy their drink more than those who enjoyed it in silence. Even more interesting, their perception of flavors changed depending on the sound environment in which they were immersed.

For Felipe Reinoso Carvalho, associate professor at the University of the Andes and co-signer of this study, this is explained by the fact that music allows the aromatic facets of beer to be revealed. “Mid to high frequency ranges, with steady musical tempos and crisp, consistent major harmonies, as well as happy emotions provided by the music, generally make the brain feel like the beer is sweeter. But tasting the same beer while listening to a sad song, with lower frequency ranges and intense, complex compositions, can make it taste more bitter.“, he recently explained in a press release.

In cognitive psychology, this phenomenon is known as the priming effect. Music would act as a cue that directs our attention towards “congruent” information, that is to say information that completes the cue to form a coherent whole. Thus, a song with a slow tempo arouses a low level of physiological activation (low excitation of the body, slow heartbeat, little adrenaline secretion), which promotes the appearance of positive emotions. The beer that we taste in this sound environment will seem even lighter and sweeter. And this, without us being aware of it!

Increased effects on red wine

The effect of music on alcohol is, of course, not limited to beer alone. The fourth art also modifies the perception of wine according to the mood expressed in the piece listened to during the tasting. Adrian North, professor of psychology at Scottish Heriot-Watt University, arrived at this observation after conducting an experiment during which participants were asked to taste a glass of white or red wine. The tasting took place in one of the five rooms planned for this experiment (including a “test” room) where four different musical atmospheres were continuously broadcast: “powerful and heavy”, “subtle and refined”, “sparkling and refreshing “, “soft and soft”.

On average, 37.25% of volunteers saw their perception of wine change depending on the sound environment in which they found themselves. So, when participants drank wine while listening to the song “Slow Breakdown” by Michael Brook, the wine was experienced as being as “mellow and sweet” as that song. In the same way, wine tasted in a “powerful and heavy” musical atmosphere will seem to have the same characteristics. Surprisingly, the effects of music on red wine were more pronounced than on white wine.

According to this data, it is therefore advisable to pay attention to the musical atmosphere in which you enjoy a beer, a glass of wine or a glass of champagne. Because music not only softens morals: it also sharpens the taste buds.

10 signs that you have a problem with alcohol

Slide: 10 Signs You Have a Drinking Problem