Snog, Marry Or Avoid? The Beer Goggles Test

by on September 18, 2012

That super-hot ‘catch of the night’ could end up being a frightful minger in the cold light of the regretful morning, when the booze has worn off.  Sexual inhibitions can sometimes drop like yesterday’s underpants when one goes on an alcohol fueled rampage, also known as having ‘beer goggles’. But what makes this so?

Attractiveness and Facial Symmetry

The degree to which one side of a person’s face mirrors the other, is called facial symmetry.  Humans have evolved the ability to discern this quality as it signifies good genes, and therefore ability to produce good-looking offspring.

A person with a highly symmetrical face then, has a higher attractiveness factor and therefore ability to pull; compared to someone with a less symmetrical face. However put some beer goggles on, in the form of a couple of strong drinks  – and the game changes completely.

The Beer Goggles Study

Researchers at Roehampton University got male and female participants to take a whole range of tests and then consume some vodka and gin drinks. The tests involved looking at images of 20 paired faces, that had been manipulated, so that one face was more symmetrical than the other.
The test group drank alcohol, and made significantly more errors discerning between symmetrical and asymmetrical faces; than the control group who drank only soft drink. Interestingly, the women in the drinking group made far more errors than the males.  After drinking a large amount of alcohol, the ability to detect symmetry decreased further in both sexes.

So what does this mean and why do women get beer goggles easier than men? Roehampton University Lead Researcher, Lewis Halsey Ph.D, gives this explanation, ”Men are more visually oriented, on average, than women.  So their ability to perceive symmetry is less attenuated by drinking alcohol.”

What is it about alcohol that makes people go a bit mad? According to Halsey, the ethanol part of alcohol, reduces our “contrast sensitivity, particularly for visual information like face perception.”

The Fall Out

This could have far reaching consequences for single men and women everywhere.  Men’s magazines everywhere enthusiastically sung the praises of history’s greatest social and sexual lubricant in getting the hard-up or shy of the male species to pull on a night out.

This study confirms what we already knew: that the demon drink will only ever be a blessing the night before.  Come the day after, when the beer goggles have worn off in some random person’s house, what happens next?  A lot of people meet their partner when they are drunk.  But are these relationships shorter or longer as a result? Does it change the nature of a relationship? Perhaps further research is needed.

With an interest in all things lifestyle and dating, Athena blogs for Direct Sight.

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