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The Mystery of Beer Goggles

by | Latest News, Life

Home Latest News The Mystery of Beer Goggles

So we’ve all heard of beer goggles, the phenomenon when alcohol makes someone who may not be attractive appear beautiful. I think I can assume that pretty much everyone, or at least any alcoholic, can say that they have been the victim of beer goggles. Alcohol reduces our inhibitions, dulling our ability to make clear choices. Along with this, it distorts our ability to recognize asymmetrical faces. It has been established in previous research that those with symmetrical faces are preferred and found more attractive. To find if alcohol actually interferes with the ability to distinguish faces, Lewis Halset of Roehampton University in London and his colleagues designed an experiment involving images of faces that were tinkered with to make them perfectly symmetrical or subtly asymmetrical.
The participants were university student at the campus bars. They were asking to take a quick breathalyzer test to confirm their alcohol consumptions. The students were classified as either sober or intoxicated, and then asked to examine the images.
The researchers showed 64 students twenty images of a pair of faces—one symmetrical, the other asymmetrical—and then twenty images of a single face were shown, one at a time. Participants were asked to state which face of each of the pairs was most attractive. They also had to determine whether each of the single faces displayed was symmetrical.
The sober students preferred the symmetrical faces more than the intoxicated student, and they also were better at detecting whether a face was symmetrical. The data also showed that men were less prone to losing their symmetry-detecting ability when intoxicated than women, which was unexpected. The researchers believe this has to do with the tendency for men to be more visually oriented and more stimulated by what they see- “Men tend to ogle more than women do,” Halsey states.
These results add a new twist to ongoing research in this area. Previous studies have compared attractiveness judgments of faces to show that small amounts of alcohol see subjects give faces higher attractive ratings. Other researchers have suggested that this might be because people become better at detecting beauty or simply become a bit less picky. However, Halsey’s findings has shown the difference in ability between males and females, which has not been shown in other studies where people looked at symmetry detection.
Of course, every study has its situational errors. The other studies that have been mentioned were conducted in a lab while this data came from people tested out in the community. In the future, it would be interesting to test whether this effect is specific to symmetry or can also be seen for other facial cues.
So I guess now whenever beer goggles become activated, we can use scientific data to back up our actions!