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The shape of sobriety

Form follows function. In biology this truism means that an organism is designed or shaped in a way that will help it perform a certain function easily. Fish are shaped as they are so they can propel through water and the human heart is shaped as it is to serve its function as a muscular pump. In architecture form follows function means that the shape of a building or object should be primarily based upon its intended function or purpose. Form is a driving force of the known universe and new research has shown that it even extends to your socialising because the shape and nature of your wine glass determines how much you will drink.

The new research involved subjects who drank at least one glass of wine per week. The subjects took part in a series of “pouring” scenarios in which they were asked to pour themselves a “normal” amount of wine. According to the research this normal amount is about 150ml (five ounces).

In the different scenarios they were asked to pour wine into three different types of glasses; standard, large, or wide. On occasions they were asked to pour into a glass they were holding while on others they poured into a glass standing on a table. Additionally, the glasses were of different colours offering more or less contrast with the wine. A low contrast example would be white wine in a clear glass while high contrast would come from red wine in a clear glass.

The results showed that when the glasses were wider the subjects poured 11.9 per cent more wine and when they were holding the glasses people poured more than 12.2 per cent more wine than when the glass was standing on the table. Additionally, when there was low contrast between the glass and the wine there was 9.2 per cent more wine poured.

The assumption is that pouring more wine will lead to unintended overconsumption. Form follows function could be restates as “shape is destiny”. So drinking white wine in a coloured glass and red wine in a clear glass could reduce consumption. On the other hand drinking white wine from a wide, clear glass and pouring the wine while holding the glass could destine you for a tipsy evening.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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