Alcohol, Music, Technology and You

How might music influence the amount, the pace and the brand of alcohol that people drink?  How do young men and women describe their drinking online and what consequences might this have for their drinking behaviour?  Is what, where, and how you drink a way of displaying your identity? Dr Carol Emslie and her colleagues will explore these questions and more in special event for Glasgow Science Festival.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Dr Carol Emslie and I lead the Substance use & misuse research group at Glasgow Caledonian University (@SubMisuseGcu).  I interview men and women to explore how drinking fits into their everyday lives.  In order to change drinking culture, we need to understand what purpose alcohol serves.  For many people, it is closely interwoven with friendship, and is seen as providing ‘time out’ from busy lives.


What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

I’m presenting a session called ‘Alcohol, Technology, Music and You’ with my colleagues Dr Alasdair Forsyth and Jemma Lennox. We’ll be discussing the role of entertainers like DJs and musicians in alcohol marketing, examining connections between social media and drinking among young people, and exploring how men and women use alcohol to display their identities (from ‘girly girl’ to ‘playing the lad’).

The Matrix, District 9, Moon… what sci-fi classic floats your… uhh… spaceship?

Blade Runner for Vangelis’ music and a vision of the future which hasn’t dated.  Joss Whedon’s Sci-Fi western ‘Firefly’ for 14 perfect episodes before it was cancelled.

2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and among other things, we’re exploring how eating insects might be the future. What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve eaten?

Hmmm, I haven’t intentionally eaten insects.  I was lucky enough to live in Aotearoa New Zealand for three months – the sushi and the traditional Māori food were delicious.

Impress us with your favourite science fact or joke.

Our research challenges the idea that peer pressure only applies to young people. People in their thirties and forties describe how friends and colleagues do not always accept that they want to stop drinking on a night out, illustrated by repeated chants of “go on, go on, go on”, “one for the road” and “just leave the car”. Some said it was easier to just take the car, or say they were on medication or detoxing in order to have an acceptable reason for not drinking.  Heavy drinking is seen as normal, while not drinking alcohol has to be explained in Scottish society.

Uncover the fascinating science and psychology of drinking and join the debate with Carol and her colleagues on Tuesday 9th June at Glasgow Caledonian University from 6-7.30pm.  Tickets are free and can be booked online.


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