Apparently, it's not the booze nor the energy drink that gives you the buzz.

Petra Hapsari   16 May 2017 12:00

People sometimes mix alcohol with something else before they drink it and of course, each one of them has their own reason to do so. In Indonesia, some mix alcohol with certain ingredients from Temulawak, local energy drink to mosquito repellent — a local wisdom we call 'oplosan'.

The most common mixture is alcohol, usually vodka, and energy drink, as people perceive that the combo will give better sensation and make the drinkers 'higher' farster and easier.

But is it true?

A study from INSEAD France came up with an answer and debunked the myth: mixing energy drink with alcohol does not make you drunker. You just think that it would do so.

In other words, it's all in your mind.

In a testing at the Paris-based INSEAD Sorbonne University Behavioural Lab where 154 young men were asked to drink vodka, fruit juice, and a cocktail of an energy drink (in this case, Red Bull), some participants felt they were quite drunk — drunker than they should be, considering the amount of alcohol they consumed.

But how?

A study titled ‘’Does Red Bull Give Wings to Vodka? Placebo Effects of Marketing Labels on Perceived Intoxication and Risky Attitudes and Behaviours” conducted by Yann Cornil (Assistant Professor of the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia), Pierre Chandon (the L’Oréal Chaired Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Creativity at INSEAD) and Aradhna Krishna (the Dwight F. Benton Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business) shows that the slogan Red Bull has, ‘Red Bull gives you wings’, has shaped certain belief in the drinkers’ mind that it really can make them higher even though it does not.

"Essentially, when alcohol is mixed with an energy drink and people are aware of it, they feel like they’re more intoxicated simply because the marketing says they should feel that way," said Cornil.

"Beliefs that people have about a product can be just as important as the ingredients of the product itself," Chandon added. "Regulations and codes of conduct should consider the psychological – and not just physiological – effects of products."

These psychological effects lead into a suggestion that how energy drinks are advertised and labeled should be re-examined.

"Energy drink marketers should be banned from touting the disinhibiting effects of their ingredients," said Cornil.

Co-author Krishna also revealed that adding energy drink in the cocktail made the participants less likely to drive. "It seems that drunk-driving education is working enough to make people think hard about driving when they are feeling drunk."

Now that you know, we have a little bonus for you:

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

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