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Fake Pub Studies Drinking Habits 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the top-shelf-research dept.
sciencehabit writes "In a pub on the campus of London South Bank University, you may think you're drinking an ice cold brew, but don't be too sure. A fake pub with barstools, beer pumps, and all the trappings of a real one was built on the university for psychologists to better understand how and why we drink. Hidden cameras and a cheerful staff — who are undercover psychology students — help analyze behavior when customers, or test subjects, pay a visit."
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Fake Pub Studies Drinking Habits

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  • by Centurix (249778) <centurixNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:07PM (#46281729) Homepage

    Basically, a pub.

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:17PM (#46281797)

      Also, psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project.

      Note, the subjects do not need to know (and shouldn't know) the actual research being done, just that they're part of a research project. Usually they're told that the researchers are testing one thing, while it's something entirely different that's really being tested.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:21PM (#46281831) Homepage

        Also, psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project.

        I'm guessing it depends on the nature of the interaction.

        Some guys sitting in a pub knocking back a few can be a talkative bunch, and if you're not inducing them to do anything and serving responsibly ... then it's like Jane Goodall watching monkeys, isn't it?

        Because I bet a good bar tender can tell you more about people than your average psychologist. ;-)

        • Also, psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project.

          I'm guessing it depends on the nature of the interaction.

          Anyone can listen to nearby conversations and form opinions, but that's not the same as conducting a study. If someone associated with a university tries to publish results from a study without signed permission from all participants, the university ethics board will not just frown. Tenure might save you, but students and assistant professors are in trouble. This is taken very seriously.

        • London South Bank University? I think that used to be the East Walford Arthur Fowler 6th Form College, so the Goodall comparison is more accurate than you might think.

      • by ArbitraryName (3391191) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:28PM (#46281881)

        Also, psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project.

        RTFA. The "pub" is in a room on the fourth floor of a university building. No one is being tricked into thinking they're in a real pub. It's just a set to help people relax and act more naturally. Every experiment performed must be approved by the university ethics committee and no one will be given enough alcohol to put them over the legal driving limit.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:50PM (#46282023) Journal
          sigh, you article readers take all the fun out of the stupid comments!
        • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @09:06PM (#46282121)

          no one will be given enough alcohol to put them over the legal driving limit.

          Real pubs aren't supposed to give anyone enough alcohol to get them drunk, either.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            ArbitraryName didn't say "enough alcohol to get them drunk", they said "enough alcohol to put them over the legal limit". For most people, the legal limit is well below the level of "drunk".
          • by JWSmythe (446288)

                I don't know what fine drinking establishments you've been to. The ones I've been to only cut you off when you can't pay, puke on the floor, or start a fight.

                For some of us, there are few visible signs of our intoxication. I'd probably love that real-fake pub. "Nope, not drunk yet, keep trying."

            • by MBGMorden (803437)

              For some of us, there are few visible signs of our intoxication.

              Yep - its weird that alcohol affects people in such difference ways. My brother tends to be an angry drunk. I can't count how many fights I've had to pull him out of when we're out. I know plenty of people who get funny and jokey when drunk.

              I personally tend to be a very quiet drunk. My friends find that amazing (since most people you get them drunk to "see their wild side" - I get drunk and just get reclusive). Its weird but though I'm impaired, my reaction is to acknowledge that and get very self-con

              • by danlip (737336)

                Half the time alcohol makes me sleepy and more introverted, and the other half the time it makes me energized and extroverted. I wish I could control the effects better. It has a lot to do with who I am with, the size of the group, and what we are doing, and how rested I feel before starting.

                I'm also a light weight. One drink gets me buzzed and two gets me blasted (if consumed quickly).

              • by JWSmythe (446288)

                Oh, I know the type. Actually, I've seen pretty much all the types.

                I've been pretty lucky with the angry drunks. Usually I can talk them down, dodge their punches, or block. In the event I'm hit ... well ... hopefully I have enough drinks in me to not care. I can take a hit sober or drunk. I just get upset about it if I'm sober.

                At one bar, I worked for the owner in another business, and I worked with the bartender at the other business, so all my drinks were free (per the owner). That night I was ord

            • The ones I've been to only cut you off when you can't pay, puke on the floor, or start a fight.

              I'm envisioning a bartender saying: "Sorry sir, but you must either pay, puke on the floor, or start a fight...or else we can no longer serve you."

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Do you live in Saudi Arabia? What kind of pubs are these where you can't get drunk?

          • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

            Being drunk and being over the legal driving limit are two vastly different levels of blood alcohol content for most people.

        • I am waiting for the fake hashish bar.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            I am waiting for the fake hashish bar.

            I, however, am waiting for the real one.

        • by Mashdar (876825)

          I bet this started as a joke about grant proposals. I, for one, move to open a similar lab here.

        • And no big screen for sports events because the nitwit in charge doesn't like sports?

          So not a real pub, but a pub where the guy in charge thinks it should be like will actually test pub goers?

          And this is science?

          • by cyborg_zx (893396)

            And no big screen for sports events because the nitwit in charge doesn't like sports?

            I do not know what makes you think this is "not a real pub" when landlords will happily make such a decision if they so choose and they have the choice.

            I for one am more than happy to drink in pubs that don't have Sky Sports. You do not sound like someone who has much experience of proper pubs.

        • by DrXym (126579)
          This sounds like the suckiest pub in the world.
        • by gutnor (872759)

          Well that means basically one beer per person and that's it. Not quite sure what they will get out of it but that's would be quite different experience than regular pub going in London ( a lot of people drink one or two beers, but there are generally a few that either were already there, or leave later. A synchronized, everybody enter, drink his beer and leave is weird )

          Also, that is central London, nobody drives to the pub. You take public transport like everybody, especially in the center. As long as th

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          we used to call those things "club rooms" or "guild rooms" in university.

          basically, a place to sit on a sofa and alcohol available.

          otoh, everyone who wanted was given enough alcohol to put them over the legal driving limit.... if they're stopping at one pint then they're failing to conduct the test really. I mean, they could just paint all the pubs pink on the inside and people would still come provided the pub still served alcohol.

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          no one will be given enough alcohol to put them over the legal driving limit

          Then it hardly mimics a real bar. I visit bars frequently (where do you think I get my colorful characters in my fiction from?) and at any time of day, even in the morning there are drunks. By four o'clock often half the people there are well over the legal limit.

          And real bars don't just have college kids, they have all ages, from 21 to 101. They don't just have college kids and grads, they have illiterates who read at a first grade

      • by JanneM (7445) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:38PM (#46281943) Homepage

        Note, the subjects do not need to know (and shouldn't know) the actual research being done, just that they're part of a research project. Usually they're told that the researchers are testing one thing, while it's something entirely different that's really being tested.

        That generally needs specific approval, though, and normally always requirs that the subject gets briefed about the real intention of the research afterwards. Also, I'm not at all certain that serving alcohol does not constitute medicating the subjects; that would mean a still tougher IRB review and approval process.

      • by mjwx (966435) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @09:00PM (#46282089)

        Also, psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project.

        Note, the subjects do not need to know (and shouldn't know) the actual research being done, just that they're part of a research project. Usually they're told that the researchers are testing one thing, while it's something entirely different that's really being tested.

        WANTED:

        Subjects for experiment who cant tell the difference between market research and an organ harvesting operation.

        Healthy type-o adults only.

      • Sometimes what is being tested is revealed, at least in a vague sense, but how it's being tested is a secret. So they put you through some kind of fake test, but prime you with something else and measure if that changes your behaviour.
      • psychologists will frown upon any research where the subjects do not know they are part of a research project..

        Why? I'd have thought the opposite in cases like this, because if the subjects were aware they could modify thier behaviour.

        Actually, there are loads of psychological research done on unaware subjects. Just a random example : an architect watching how people negotiate a busy hotel lobby, so he can design better hotel lobbies in future.

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          You don't have to tell what you're testing. E.g. "we have a new restaurant and are looking for people to try out our new food - it's free, eat as much as you like," while the real question is "does the size of our plates change how much people are eating?". The people know they're test subjects, but think they're testing the food quality while in reality they're testing whether they'll eat more when they get bigger plates, and whether it matters how far their seat is from the buffet table.

      • by danbuter (2019760)
        Extremely relevant 2gag: http://www.twogag.com/archives... [twogag.com]
    • by jxander (2605655) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:25PM (#46281865)
      "The difference between screwing around and science is writing it down" -Adam Savage
    • The clue was "cheerful staff" :-/
    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      "Basically, a pub."

      No, it's more like FaceBook ( creepy spying) but with beer-nuts.

  • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:09PM (#46281739) Homepage Journal
    Fake-y Bubbles
    In your glass
    Make ya wanna
    Scrape your [sorry, couldn't think of a rhyme]
    Burma Shave
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The University of Washington in Seattle has (or had) one of these, called the B.A.R. Lab (Behavorial Alcohol Research). Seems like a trend. Get a bar built in your school and call it research! HA!

    • by TWX (665546)
      Does tend to make one wonder about the use of the facility off-hours, doesn't it?
    • by Yoda222 (943886)
      I don't understand the need for excuses. In Belgium if we want to drink/sell beers on the campus, we just do it.
      • by xaxa (988988)

        I don't understand the need for excuses. In Belgium if we want to drink/sell beers on the campus, we just do it.

        Obviously, the excuse is only needed in the US.

        Like all (or almost all?) universities, London South Bank University already has a proper pub within the student union. It might have one not run by the student union, but that's probably less likely, since there will be hundreds of normal pubs within a few minutes walk.

  • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:29PM (#46281891)
    Great! Now the students will have some training for the jobs they'll end up in anyway after graduating with a psych degree.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jmc23 (2353706)
      um, that's too good of a job for someone with a psych degree.
    • Great! Now the students will have some training for the jobs they'll end up in anyway after graduating with a psych degree.

      Simply awesome. My hat is off to you, sir.

  • The Placebo Pub (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rts008 (812749) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @08:31PM (#46281895) Journal

    It is a very good thing they are not charging for the drinks, I can't imagine the horror show resulting when the pub patrons find out they are buying watered down drinks.

    Even after I RTFA, I still am not sure how they are concealing the info that there is little to no alcohol in the free drinks. I know if I was presented a free pub, I would wonder what the catch was, thus altering my behavior and skewing the data.

    Maybe just my own suspicious and skeptical nature is the cause for my questioning this.
    Or I missed that part of TFA. :-)

    • Supposedly they are wiping ethanol onto the glass, so you can still smell it. But I'm not certain that would fool everyone.
  • a 'pub' where they rub ethanol around the glass to convince the patron there is a real drink they are served.. where you may or may not get any alcohol in the drink you ordered... where patrons are metered to make sure they dont drink over their legal driving limit... a place the customers dont even know they may be part of an experiment, and on top of that they wont even play the soccer game on the tv. Sounds like a violation of alcohol ordinances and pub regulations to me. I really am glad i dont go the
  • That said, how much is a pint of hard cider?

    Without IRB consent forms signed by people who are fully informed, this is an ethical violation and a violation of research study protocols.

    But, hey, let's just throw some drones and post the vids of their "behavioural studies" onto the Internet, shall we?

    Who cares if it violates the Magna Carta?

  • What temperature? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @09:15PM (#46282173)

    London South Bank University, you may think you're drinking an ice cold brew

    The British don't drink their beer ice cold.

    • Re:What temperature? (Score:5, Informative)

      by quenda (644621) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @10:55PM (#46282745)

      The British don't drink their beer ice cold.

      Not that old myth! What you and I call beer, the British call lager, and drink it chilled like everyone else.
      But there is an extra option: if you go to a real English pub, and order a traditional ale, it is served at cellar temperature.
      These days, lager is much more popular.

    • It's because British beer [ie bitter, stout, ale] has some flavour.

      Drinking liquids ice cold reduces your sense of taste so you don't realise it's just yellow water.

  • I wonder if they studied the fake fights that occurred when the subjects moved from fake beer to fake whiskey?

  • And one thing they get on right away is alcohol.

    Get ready for heavy fines, it's within the gov't right to do this.

    • by TWX (665546)
      If they're not charging for drinks, and if they don't advertise that this public house serves alcohol, then they're probably off the hook on false advertising.
  • Yeah, yeah, but your psychologists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.

    What if it starts breeding? Have they learned nothing from the Fake Irish Pub plague that has ravaged the world?

  • by m3ntos (225331)

    It's great that those students are getting on the job training in real world skills.

  • I you pay with fake cash as I don't to pay for fake beer.

  • What's the difference with normal batmen/barmaids, which are usually already psych students in the first place?

  • if there isn't a notice of the public being studied, then it's a gross violation of privacy laws..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now, repeat with a whore house. How do the psychology students look?

  • ... this sparks the question: Do the rats know you created the maze, and just go for the cheese to fool you?
  • Required reading when I was taking Sociology as an undergrad:
    http://www.amazon.ca/The-Cockt... [amazon.ca]

    Not to be confused with the crime novel.

  • How ironic! A bartender who is actually a psychologist ... what're the odds ?
  • Many headlines these days are poorly written, with word forms that can be hard to parse before you read the associated article.

    Ok, I'll give it a shot. "Fake Pub Studies Drinking Habits"

    What is the news here?

    Fake studies about pubs are drinking all these habits.
    The fake pub is studying how people drink habits.
    I order you to fake some pub studies that drink habits.
    This is about the drinking habits of fake pub studies.

    And so on.

    Add your own parsing, and for each one you add, enjoy another habitual fake drink

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