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When people drink too much, they often find unattractive people much more attractive.This phenomenon is called “beer goggles.”
What actually happens when you have beer goggles, and what makes people’s visual perceptions change?
Amanda Ellison, a psychologist from Durham University in the U.K. has written a book, Getting Your Head Around the Brain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). In it, she introduces readers to the brain and how its functioning is linked to behaviour.
In an interview with The Telegraph she said that “beer goggles” don’t actually exist. We just become more liberal when we drink, but a person’s physical appearance remains the same.
“We still see others basically as they are,” she tells the Telegraph. “There is no imagined physical transformation — just more desire.”
While alcohol impairs certain motor skills and parts of the brain (like the part encourages us not to act on impulses) libido is not affected, says Ellison.
“The area of the brain that makes us want to mate keeps functioning, meaning that people can still assess how visually appealing others are,” she says. “Beer goggles depend on our ability to make rational decisions.”
This is the opposite conclusion from a paper published in the British Journal of Psychology in May of 2009, which found that beer goggles do exist: “Alcohol consumption significantly inflated attractiveness ratings for participants viewing made-up sexually mature faces.”
Ok, so maybe other people don’t physically appear better when you’re drunk. But a study published in the British Journal Of Psychology in 2012 found that, at the very least, you perceive yourself as more attractive when you drink. The study concluded: “The mere belief that one has consumed alcohol increases self-perceived attractiveness.”
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