Can’t resist the temptation to drink even when you’ve told yourself a million times that you will cut down on boozing? It’s not your fault, actually. According to a new study, the very smell of alcohol is likely to make it harder for people to control their craving. The study, which focuses on the impact of addiction and substance abuse, revealed that the environment in which we consume alcohol shapes our behaviours.
“This research is a first attempt to explore other triggers, such as smell, that may interfere with people’s ability to refrain from a particular behaviour,” Rebecca Monk, senior lecturer at Edge Hill University in Britain. The findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.
The team carried out a computer-based study, in which participants were asked to wear a facemask that was either laced with alcohol, or a non-alcoholic citrus solution. They were then instructed to press a button when either the letter K or a picture of a beer bottle appeared on their screen.
Watch: Why Does Alcohol Burn When You Drink It?
The researchers measured the number of times the participants incorrectly pressed the button causing a “false alarm”. These false alarms indicate a reduction in the participant’s power to inhibit their behaviour when they were expected to. The number of these false alarms was higher in participants who were wearing the alcohol treated mask, the researchers explained.
“Our hope is that by increasing our understanding of how context shapes substance-use behaviours, we will be able to make interventions more sensitive to the different situations in which people consume substances,” said one of the researcher Derek Heim, professor at Edge Hill.
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