At London South Bank University's shiny new pub, the drinks are free, but they, uhh, may or may not actually contain alcohol. And it's not a real pub, actually. Oh, and there are little cameras all over the place tracking your every movement.
If that doesn't like quite the greatest night on the town, that's because it's actually the university's newest psychology lab, built to the tune of £20,000 ($37,000). With psychology students as bartenders and CCTV cameras hidden throughout, room J-407 will be used to study how people get drunk and interact.
As with all simulated environments, the details are where it gets both interesting and weird. The pub's soundtrack will play music, yes, but also pre-recorded chatter to fake the actual ambiance of a pub. The glasses are rubbed with ethanol, so the pub even smells like one. (Though really, shouldn't they just have spilled some cheap beer?)
The fun'n'games that normally keep you at the bar also double as research props. As described by The Guardian, "Props include a fruit machine, to test risk-taking behaviour, and wire loop games will test eye-hand co-ordination. There will, eventually, be a juke box to determine what kind of music makes people drink more quickly."
This brings us all back to the beers. They will contain unknown amounts of alcohol to study how the it affects patrons-slash-subjects. When it comes to psychology research, there is also a little thing called ethics, so the pub won't get people drunker than the legal driving limit. I guess they won't be studying true drunks then? As for pubs not sanctioned by a university research committee, well, now you know where to find them. [The Guardian]
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