Friday, August 22, 2008

It's Official: "Beer Goggles" Are Real

Since the issue of drinking (and not drinking) has been coming up so much this past week, I thought I'd conclude the discussion (for those of you 21 and over, of course) with this, uh, surprising? finding in the New Scientist Journal:

THE next time you hear someone blaming "beer goggles" for their behaviour, you may have to believe them. People really do appear more attractive when our perceptions are changed by drinking alcohol.

A team of researchers led by Marcus Munafò at the University of Bristol in the UK conducted a controlled experiment. They randomly assigned 84 heterosexal students to consume either a non-alcoholic lime-flavoured drink or an alcoholic beverage with a similar flavour. The exact amount of alcohol varied according to the individual but was designed to have an effect equivalent to someone weighing 70 kilograms drinking 250 millitres of wine - enough to make some students tipsy. After 15 minutes, the students were shown pictures of people their own age, from both sexes.

Both men and women who had consumed alcohol rated the faces as being more attractive than did the controls (Alcohol and Alcoholism, DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agn065). Surprisingly, the effect was not limited to the opposite sex - volunteers who had drunk alcohol also rated people from their own sex as more attractive.

Of course, we've known that alcohol lowers inhibitions and often leads persons to engage in risky behaviors they may not normally engage in otherwise, but how much of that is the substance and how much of that is learned behavior?

Nevertheless, these studies measuring a change in perception are interesting, to say the least. Maybe prohibition isn't such a bad thing after all.

h/t The General Blog of Crime

1 comment:

Phil BC said...

Lol, as a one-time frequent sufferer of beer goggles I could have told them that!