Turns out, “beer goggles” are probably less about people looking more attractive and more about you lowering your standards. But deep in your heart, I’m sure you already knew that.
Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK recently conducted a comprehensive study at three pubs to try to determine once and for all (surprising amounts of previous research on the subject already exist) whether consuming alcohol actually makes those around you appear more attractive.
Participants were asked to rate faces and landscapes (the latter to make sure that alcohol doesn’t just make everything look more attractive), before receiving a breathalyzer test and also self-reporting their level of drunkenness. Alas, after analyzing the data from 311 people, the final conclusion read, “We found no evidence for a relationship between alcohol consumption and perception of attractiveness in our large-scale naturalistic study.”
Interestingly, as Ars Technica points out, “A new effect popped up, however: ratings of same-sex faces actually dropped slightly with higher alcohol levels. No other study has reported this, so it could be a fluke or just noise in the data.” However, these new findings might also explain why, when intoxicated, you can’t wait to punch that stupid jerk in his stupid-looking face.
As with pretty much all studies, more research could be done. The team suggests, “Future studies should use similarly ecologically-valid methodologies to further explore the conditions under which this effect may be observed and identify whether it is indeed perceptions of attractiveness which change after consumption of alcohol, or motivations.”
Um, I volunteer.