Alcohol doesn't change personality as much as you think

The change is not as much as you think

There is no such thing a "happy drunk" scientists have concluded after finding that alcohol does not radically change personality. By comparing personal and outside observations of intoxicated people, the team reports that the differences are less drastic than those perceived by the drunk person.

Winograd believes that the chief explanation is that alcohol changed how people felt about themselves, but not necessarily how they presented themselves. You don't dance - until you've had a drink to limber up, and so on.

The idea that we transform into different people when we're under the influence is a popular one.

But the science on "drunk personality" as a concept is less clear.

Observers did, however, agree with drinkers about one trait: Alcohol had a noticeable affect on participants' extraversion.

USA researchers got a group of test subjects tipsy and asked them and neutral observers to record how their personalities changed.

When you are drunk, your personality may change, but not as much as you think, a study shows.

The participants came into a lab in groups of 3 or 4 and some were given various amounts of alcohol to drink while others were given non-alcoholic drinks. After the 15 minute imbibing period was over, the groups were asked to undertake a series of group activities (for example logic puzzles and discussion questions) aimed to elicit a range of behaviors and underlying personality traits. They were also asked to describe their own "drunk personality" throughout the experiment. Video recordings of their activity were supplied to outside observers who filled in standardized assessments of each individual's personality traits.

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Outside observers are describing what they see, while the drinker may experience personality shifts that aren't perceptible externally.

After drinking, participants reported lower levels of conscientiousness, openness to experience, and agreeableness, and they reported higher levels of extraversion and emotional stability (the inverse of neuroticism).

All of it leading to a limber tongue.

Given that extraversion is the most outwardly visible personality factor, it makes sense that both parties noted differences in this trait, the researchers argue.

They acknowledge, however, that they can not rule out other influences - such as participants' own expectations of their drunk personality - that may have contributed to the discrepancy in ratings.

The next step, according to Winograd, is for research to continue somewhere outside of a lab and in natural settings, such as bars and parties.

"Most importantly, we need to see how this work is most relevant in the clinical realm and can be effectively included in interventions to help reduce any negative impact of alcohol on peoples" lives, ' she said.

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