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Pitt Study Finds That Beer Goggles Are Real

New analysis from the University of Pittsburgh has found a link between alcohol and perceived physical attractiveness. In other words, “beer goggles” are real.

Researchers looked at data from some 1,800 people collected from 16 previous studies. Participants rated the attractiveness of people in photographs, about half were drinking, and the other sober.

The intoxicated group gave modestly higher scores.

The reason for this link is unknown. The study did not attempt to determine how alcohol affects the brain to make people appear more good-looking. But there’s a good chance the findings are related to human bonding.

Previous research shows that humans prefer to be around attractive people, a pretty face stimulates our brains’ reward centers. Studies have also found that alcohol helps people form connections with strangers.

Pitt psychologist Michael Sayette, the paper’s senior author, specializes in substance abuse. He said this newly discovered link might have evolved to facilitate socialization.

“It suggests yet another way in which we bond is to experience them in a more attractive fashion physically,” he said.

Lead author Molly Bowdring said results might be more significant in future studies where live people are scored, as opposed to static images.  

“The hope is to move towards more kind of naturalistic conditions,” she said. “That could be … bringing in video, or actually have individuals rate live others with whom they actually have potential to interact.”

The study was published in the journal Addiction.

90.5 WESA receives funding from the University of Pittsburgh.

Photo Credit: Colin Charles/Flickr

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