Researchers Say 'Beer Goggles' Are A Myth

By McCarton Ackerman 08/28/15

A new study contradicts findings made by the same research team.

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Most of us have heard the reference of someone putting on “beer goggles” when they go home with someone seen as homely, but a new study has found that alcohol actually has no influence on perceived attractiveness.

The research out of Bristol University in the UK, was published in the latest issue of the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism. The team took their research out into the real world by assessing 311 drinkers from three local pubs. Participants were asked to assess the attractiveness of faces using a tablet computer and breathalyzed afterwards.

They concluded that there was “no evidence” of a link between alcohol consumption and perceived attractiveness, noting that “our study is important given the large sample size, the successful translation of an experimental, laboratory-based paradigm to a naturalistic drinking environment and the high level of public engagement with the study.”

However, the study contradicts previous findings made by the same research team in a separate project they conducted last March. They previously wrote that people are viewed as “most attractive” after one drink.

That data, also published in Alcohol and Alcoholism, came from a group of sober students rating photos of another group of 40 students who had consumed different levels of alcohol based on how attractive they looked. Photos taken after one drink were rated as more attractive than sober photos, but the pictures of students after they had consumed more than one drink were viewed as less attractive than when they were sober.

Last February, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh analyzed 70 of the most popular alcohol-related videos on YouTube and found that the clips suggest drinking makes you funny and more attractive, but rarely touched on any of the potential health risks of drinking. About 86% of the videos portrayed excessive intoxication, but only 7% showed alcohol dependence or withdrawals.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.