Loud tunes in clubs and bars may lead to increased drink orders by patrons, according to a recent study by a group of French scientists.
In the study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers watched 40 men, ages 18 to 25, in two bars in western France. The patrons were unaware they were being studied as the scientists controlled the volume of music at the venues, alternating between normal and loud levels.
"Previous research has shown that fast music can cause fast drinking, and that music versus no music can cause a person to spend more time in a bar," Study leader Nicolas Guéguen said, according to the Times of London. "This is the first time that an experimental approach in a real context found the effects of loud music on alcohol consumption."
When scientists turned up the noise, the men reportedly drank faster and ordered more drinks.
Two theories apparently arose from the findings: First, that the loud music increased arousal in the men, causing them to drink more and, second, that the men drank more because they couldn’t hear one another well enough to talk.
While the researchers suggested stricter regulations on sound levels in establishments, others found the results a bit suspect.
"Is loud music a stimulant? Absolutely. That’s why rock music is loud," Gene Bowen, the founder of Road Recovery, a nonprofit that works with recovering artists and youth facing addiction, told ABC News. "People want to listen to music that affects them. But does it affect them to make them want to put substances in their system? That’s debatable."