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New British Pub Actually Just Elaborate Psychological Experiment

Where everybody knows your name... and your blood type... and your social security number.


A night out at London’s South Bank University’s new pub is great–if you’re a lab rat, that is. The deceptive new bar was built solely to study the effects of alcohol consumption on behavior, and you’re welcome to come in and have a pint, just ignore all the surveillance equipment.

The recently completed pub was built for £20,000, which could buy a lot of drinks at a normal, non-Orwellian bar. Psychology students will be “undercover” as bartenders (which seems redundant, considering how many of us use drink servers as confidantes already), and the pub, currently called by its’ room number of J-407, will be filled with hidden CCTV cameras.

In order to totally replicate the atmosphere of a typical pub, J-407 will be equipped with a jukebox, and ethanol will even be rubbed on glasses to provide that pub “je ne sais quoi.”

Disconcertingly, these props won’t just provide an authentic bar experience–they’ll also double as instruments in the study. The Guardian explains that “Props include a fruit machine, to test risk-taking behavior, 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.”

UK lesson of the day: “fruit machines” are apparently the British equivalents to slot machines, i.e, a diabolical game to provide a room full of drunks with some risk.

Which leads to the most important question: Will this fake real pub be serving actual alcohol?

Yes…and no. In typical tricky scientist style, each drink will have a different alcohol content, and the lab rats volunteers won’t be told which drinks are near water and which might give them a night worshiping the porcelain God.

Obviously scientific ethics, etc., will prevent bartenders from allowing patrons to get too hammered. Nevertheless, extreme lightweights may be better off in a more orthodox study for unregulated controversial medicine or something.

On the other hand, if you can handle your booze and don’t mind if Big Brother’s watching, this sounds like an interesting study to participate in, provided you’re never forced to view video of your drunken antics. Awlll in the name of Shience, righ, guyss?

(via Gizmodo, images via Felix)


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