The Beer Goggles Effect: Fact or Myth?

beer goggles effectBeer can do many things to us. When taken moderately, it can make us feel more relaxed. Unfortunately, there are people who need to be controlled once intoxicated. They may have violent tendencies, appear more sexually uninhibited or simply lost control on situations.

One such purported effect is the beer goggles effect. For years, it has been thought to affect our perception of attractiveness. Other studies, however, such as the one published by Dr. Amanda Ellison of the Durham University, Department of Psychology,  in her book “Getting Your Head Around the Brain”, suggests that alcohol consumption does not have any influence on how we perceive attraction.

The Beer Goggles Effect: Two Sides of the Coin

beer goggles effect

When men drink more than their brain can handle

The Bristol Study

Articles, books and studies define the Beer Goggles Effect as the direct relation of perception of sexual attractiveness  to the amount of alcohol consumed. That means, the more alcohol a person consumes, the greater is the tendency for a person to view another as sexually attractive.

A study was conducted by the University of Bristol’s Tobacco and Alcohol Reasearch Group regarding the beer goggles effect. The subjects were divided into two groups. One group was given one alcoholic drink for each subject while the other group received placebo drinks only.

They were shown pictures of 20 female faces, 20 male faces and 20 landscapes. Results showed that subjects who were made to drink an alcoholic beverage gave higher attractiveness ratings after drinking. The results remained consistent for all three sets of pictures.

The study concluded that the beer goggles effect is indeed true. However, the researchers warned against risky behaviors on sexual encounters, particularly, unprotected sex.

beer goggles effect

When women drink too much

The Durham Study

According to the study conducted by Dr. Amanda Ellison, alcohol does not influence the way we perceive attractiveness. Rather, alcohol affects our ability to make rational choices and decisions. Therefore, people who drink have the tendency to have less inhibitions and increased level of lust.

Women tend to be more selective when choosing a partner. They tend to weigh and analyze things more than men. They are also quite cautious about sexual encounters as they can end up pregnant anytime. Unfortunately, this level of reasoning flies out the window once drunk. The upper lobe controls the decision making and since alcohol binds with the receptors of the upper lobes, it will not be able to function well.

The Beer Goggles Effect Formula

The research team at the Machester University conducted their own investigation and according to them, there are additional factors affecting the change in the perception of attractiveness. Apart from the amount of alcohol consumption, smokiness of the room, luminance of the person of interest, visual acuity and distance from the person of interest also plays a role.

In fact,  a formula was created by the University of Manchester research team in coordination with Bausch and Lomb Pure Vision eyecare firm. A result of less than one means there is no change. A result of more than one to 50 means there is an increase in the attractiveness perception and a score of more than 50 means a person who is not attractive suddenly becomes very appealing after a few more drinks.


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