When you are drunk, do people look more attractive to you? Yes, says study

  • Beer goggles—one is said to wear them when he or she is under the influence of alcohol and finds people attractive

  • Over 120 participants—heterosexual university students—were part of the study, and these students included both intoxicated and sober ones

It is not unheard of that alcohol makes everything look attractive, especially people. In fact, this phenomenon has its own terminology as well—Beer goggles. While some may argue about its validity, a new study suggests that this effect may hold some truth while gauging the attractiveness of potential suitors when intoxicated.

In a study by psychologists from Edge Hill University, it was found that when intoxicated, participants got attracted towards those who normally would be considered unattractive­, according to traditional attractiveness biases.

"We know that attractive faces can pull attention away from the task at hand, but our research suggests that alcohol has the capacity to lessen this effect; to level the playing field," said Dr Rebecca Monk, lead author of the study, in a statement.

Representational Picture Pixabay

What is beer goggles?

Simply put, one is said to wear beer goggles when he or she is under the influence of alcohol. In this state of intoxication, a person's perception is altered and they find people more attractive than what they really are. In other words, a drunk person finds even those who may be considered unattractive, attractive.

Set in real-life conditions

Unlike studies in the past that relied on the direct self-reporting of participants on whether they found someone attractive or not, the researchers employed an indirect approach. Dr Monk said that the findings of those studies were limiting and inconsistent. She added, "By using an indirect measure of attention, our research was able to overcome some of these limitations."

Over 120 participants—heterosexual university students—were part of the study. These students included both intoxicated and sober ones. On a laptop, they were asked to answer if the orientation of the letter 'T' displayed on the screen was right or inverted. While they were asked to indicate the positioning of the letter, they were also asked to take no notice of the faces that were shown on the screen simultaneously.

Representational Picture Pixabay

Alcohol makes everyone attractive

As one would expect, sober participants were found to be distracted by attractive faces more easily. However, in the case of students who were intoxicated, their attention was found to be diverted equally between both unattractive and attractive ones.

"It's remarkable that in our study participants were only mildly intoxicated, suggesting that it doesn't take much alcohol at all for people to 'put on their beer goggles," said Professor Derek Heim, co-author of the study.

He further added that this research highlights that there definitely is some truth to what is generally considered unscientific acceptance. "Most people have heard of the 'beer goggles' effect, and our research adds to the body of evidence showing that there is some truth to this anecdotal wisdom," he concluded.