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Even the Scent of Alcohol Can Lower Your Inhibitions

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It’s well established that drinking alcohol can make it harder to control your behavior. But what if you just sniff it? Apparently that has an effect, too. Researchers say people who sniffed alcohol scored lower on an impulse-control test than people who inhaled a citrus smell.

The study, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, was designed to find out how the sight and smell of alcohol might affect drinkers’ brains even before they start drinking—or trying not to drink. Psychologists recruited 40 self-described social drinkers (21 female and 19 male) between the ages of 19 and 48. Each person then got a little mask soaked in solution. Half of the masks were soaked in a vodka solution, while the other half were doused in a citrus oil solution.

While wearing their masks, the participants played a computer game called a go/no-go association test (GNAT), which measures implicit social cognition, or our unconscious responses (which may be socially learned). Once again, there were two groups, but each group contained half alcohol-sniffers and half citrus-sniffers. Participants in the neutral group were quickly shown letters of the alphabet and told to push the button when they saw the letter K. People in the experimental group had to look for a beer bottle amid 25 different water bottle photos.

The object of the game was to press the button only when the letter K or the beer bottle appeared; in other words, it was a test to see how well the participants could control their impulse to hit the button (the "go/no-go" factor). 

They found that people looking for the beer bottle were better at restraining themselves than those looking for the letter K. But the participants with alcohol-soaked masks had significantly lower impulse control than those breathing a citrusy scent. 

If just the smell of booze is enough to lower our inhibitions, the researchers say, it’s not a huge surprise that people find it so hard to quit drinking. This was a small study, but it represents an important direction in alcohol and substance abuse research, the researchers say.

"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 behavior,” co-author Rebecca Monk said in a press statement. "For example, during the experiment, it seemed that just the smell of alcohol was making it harder for participants to control their behavior to stop pressing a button.”

Her co-author Derek Heim added that studies like this will lead to better evidence-based programs to help people break problematic habits. "Our hope is that by increasing our understanding of how context shapes substance-use behaviors, we will be able to make interventions more sensitive to the different situations in which people consume substances." 

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New Pop Chart Lab Poster Is a Boozy Blueprint For Making Classic Cocktails
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Pop Chart Lab's posters combine design with data, and their latest offering—a full breakdown of the ingredients in 60 classic cocktails—is no exception. From the exact ratio of gin and tonic that should go into a G & T (2 ounces and 4 ounces, respectively) to the garnishes you'll need to make a proper Tom Collins (a maraschino cherry and a lemon twist), the 3-foot-by-2-foot "Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" artwork teaches mixology basics you'd typically learn in bartending school, sans tuition fee.

In addition to mainstays like the Negroni and the Whiskey Sour, the poster also includes relatively obscure drinks (ever heard of the Golden Dawn, or the Journalist?), which you can attempt after drinking your way through your favorite concoctions. Before you know it, you'll be explaining to your friends the intricacies of why you should stir martinis instead of shaking them (sorry, James Bond), or the difference between a highball and a Collins glass. Bottoms up!

"Constitutions of Classic Cocktails" costs $37, and is currently available for pre-order. Shipping begins on Friday, October 20, 2017. (To see the poster's details up close, visit Pop Chart Lab's website and click on the diagram.)

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Attention Beer Lovers: A London Brewery Is Hiring a Professional Taste-Tester
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Beer lovers aren’t given many chances to discuss their passion for imbibing at job interviews. But a new open position at London's Meantime Brewing Company lists that expertise as one of the top qualifications. As Fortune reports, the brewery is seeking a professional beer taster to help improve its products.

The brewery’s part-time employee will “join the panel brewers as they taste, discuss, and pass opinion on a range of different beers,” according to the job listing on LinkedIn. On top of steady access to free booze three hours a week, the taster will receive a competitive salary “with beer benefits.” As the description reads: “Yes, this could just be the best job in the world.”

Meantime isn’t just considering any casual beer drinker for the role. Their ideal candidate will have a precise palate that can distinguish “chocolate malt from dark malt” and “Fuggles from Cascade hops.” They will also have an understanding of global consumer markets, a functioning knowledge of English, and an extensive beer vocabulary. The brewery is located in the London borough of Greenwich, so applicants who aren’t local should be willing to relocate.

Founded in 1999, the Meantime Brewing Company made its name on the beer scene with signature beverages like their London Lager, London Pale Ale, and Yakima Red. If you’re interested in joining the team, post 30 words on your LinkedIn profile explaining why you deserve the gig, along with any photos or videos that may help your case, with the hashtag #pickmemeantime. The company will narrow down the pool to three candidates for an in-person beer tasting before deciding their top pick. Meanwhile, you can prepare for the job by brushing up on your beer facts.

[h/t Fortune]

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