Drunk people are equally diverted by unattractive and attractive people, say researchers, adding that evidence suggests that ‘beer goggles’ effect really do exist.
The term beer goggles refers to finding people more attractive after you have had a few beers.
For the study, published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviours, the research team carried out a computer-based study in bars and pubs local to the University’s Ormskirk campus, by asking participants to respond to stimuli while ignoring photos of attractive and unattractive faces.
“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,” said study researcher Derek Heim, Professor at Edge Hill University in the UK.
“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’,” Heim added.
According to the researchers, previous research into the beer goggles phenomena yielded inconsistent findings and has been largely limited to asking people directly about how attractive they find others.
“By using an indirect measure of attention, our research was able to overcome some of these limitations,” said study researcher Rebecca Monk.
“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,” Monk added.
More than 120 participants – both sober and intoxicated- were required to determine and indicate the orientation of the letter ‘T’ on a computer screen, while being presented with images of attractive and unattractive people.
The findings of the study showed that while sober participants were distracted more by attractive faces, the attention of those who were intoxicated was diverted equally by both attractive and unattractive faces.