Despite the ‘beer goggles’ effect, drunk people don’t think faces are more attractive, a new study reveals.
Previous research showed that alcohol blurred the appearance of symmetrical, more attractive faces and less attractive ones.
But a new study shows that whilst booze does indeed have that effect, drunk people still don’t think faces are any better looking.
Now scientists believe the ‘beer goggles’ effect is still real but there is more to it than simply facial attractiveness.
The team conducted an experiment in a local pub in Portsmouth where they asked 99 men and women between the ages of 18 and 62 to rate a group of faces for attractiveness and symmetry.
Each face was shown in two forms: one in its natural state, and one with ‘enhanced symmetry’.
Participants had to first-rate each picture individually before later being presented with two versions of the same face and having to judge which was more attractive and which was more symmetrical.
As predicted, heavily intoxicated individuals were less able to distinguish natural faces from perfectly symmetrized faces.
However, contrary to popular opinion, this did not have any influence on facial attractiveness judgments – suggesting that ‘beer goggles’ are not actually linked to facial symmetry or asymmetry, with many other factors possibly at play.
Dr. Alistair Harvey, a psychology professor at the University said: “We don’t deny the existence of a ‘beer goggles’ effect.
“But we suspect it would be more easily detectable when using live models for an experiment, instead of static photographs.
“Images conceal a range of important visual criteria for attractiveness, including build, body shape, height, expression, and clothing.”
The previous explanation was that ‘the more symmetry, the better the gene pool’.
But Dr. Harvey added: “Alcohol is a strong predictor of sexual behavior, often consumed before or during dates.
“There are a range of possible reasons why alcohol drinkers are more inclined to engage in sex, including a lack of inhibition, heightened expectations, personality traits, and the ‘beer goggles’ effect.
“Due to the limited research on this topic, we ran a field experiment to help determine why people often experience unexpected – and regretted – sexual escapades after having one too many.
“Further research is needed to find the missing piece to the puzzle.”
The experiment, which has been published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, also presented participants with ‘natural’ faces and faces that had been doctored to look ‘wonky’ or asymmetrical.
Here, as expected, both men and women rated natural faces as more attractive, but, to the researchers’ surprise, the bias was stronger among women.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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