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You know how people joke about having a one-night stand with someone they wouldn’t find attractive sober, because they were under the influence of alcohol?
Turns out that reasoning might not line up with reality, according to new research. A newly published study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs overturns the concept of beer goggles, laying out evidence that while alcohol does provide extra confidence — “liquid courage,” in the dating parlance — to approach people we already find attractive, it doesn’t make people we don’t already find appealing seem moreso.
Researchers from Stanford and Pittsburg enlisted 36 men to participate in two sessions of experiments. In one session, they drank alcohol. In another session, they drank a non-alcoholic beverage. The idea was to mimic interactions at a bar.
After consuming their drinks in both sessions, the researchers had the men look at various pictures and videos of people and had them rate their attractiveness. They were then asked to choose four people from the pictures to “potentially interact with in a future study.”
Contradicting what you might expect, the researchers found that alcohol didn’t impact how participants rated the attractiveness of the photos and videos. But drinking did increase the participants’ likelihood to interact with the “most attractive targets.” Interesting!
It’s worth noting that the study is clearly limited, both by its small sample size, artificial-sounding setting, and most clearly, because all the participants are men. Women may think and act differently under the same circumstance.
But it does give pause to the whole idea of beer goggles.
So next time your buddy makes the excuse that he only hooked up with someone because of the Jägermeister and not due to any real attraction, you can whip out this study and refute that terrible excuse.