The Beer Goggles Effect Hits Women Harder Than Men

By Chad Pilbeam | April 4, 2012 | 0 Comments |
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The ongoing debate of whether Beer Goggles are myth or science continues with new “evidence” suggesting that alcohol impairs the judgment of ladies to a greater degree than that of their male counterparts. 

The myth and legend of beer goggles has developed and been reinforced over years with thousands of stories.  Terms like “Coyote Ugly” and “Beer Hot” emerged from escapades that involved consumption of fermentables and the resulting “attraction” to a member of the opposite sex. 

But most of these stories have an origin from MEN who’ve developed a diminished capacity to discern, and a lower standard of attractiveness as a result of too much alcohol, not women.  These stories also make adequate fodder for how married couples can save money by spending less on make-up and more on beer, and are the makings of signs that are synonymous with man-caves and bars (“Beer – Helping ugly people have sex since 1862”).  But through all the lore, there are still those that attempt to PROVE the Beer Goggle Theory.

In the most recent attempt to turn theory into law, researchers at London’s Roehampton University asked more than 100 men and women to rate the symmetry of a pairs of faces.  Scientists have long known that symmetry (which one half of a face mirrors the other) is the result of good genes and hence, tied to attraction.  The subjects, some given alcoholic beverages, while others were given non-alcoholic drinks, rated the faces. 

The results; both men and women who consumed alcohol had a higher instance of rating faces symmetrical when in fact they were asymmetrical.  The results also indicated that women had a higher tendency to this than men.  Shocker!  People who drink have a reduced ability to identify details and discrepancies than those who don’t drink.

Biologically speaking this should also come as no surprise.  It takes fewer drinks and less alcohol for woman to become intoxicated versus men.  As such, we can deduce quite confidently that a female’s judgment would be impaired to a greater degree.  Also no surprise, this research isn’t without scrutiny.

Given the limited scope of the study (reduced simply to symmetry and extrapolated to the belief of attractiveness) and sample size (just over 100 – of which only some of whom were given alcohol), it’s logical to assume there are many in the scientific community who would argue the legitimacy of these “scientific” results.  Consider these statistics alone; given the 2.0 billion people in the world who consume alcohol, a sample size of 100 has a margin of error is +/- 10%.  Said differently, to achieve a result that most statisticians would accept (a margin of error of +/- 5%), the study would need a sample nearly 4 times the size (385 to be exact).

This is not the first attempt to prove the Beer Goggle Theory.  Here are some other examples:

  • A Bristol University study found people appear more attractive to both sexes after they’ve had a drink.
  • In some cases, just the anticipation of alcohol may be enough to alter judgment.
  • Another U.S. study showed that men rated pictures of women more highly after looking at alcohol-related words vs. words about non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Researcher Professor Ronald Friedman was quoted as saying “We propose to have found a case of automatic “beer goggling”.”

For every ying, a yang, and for these claims of scientific proof, surely there is research to suggest the contrary. 

A British study concluded that men find women no prettier after drinking, and the Leicester University researchers said, “There was no difference – the men were just as undiscerning as ever.” This is a clear case of science disproving science and fact refuting fact (sarcasm implied for those of you not picking up on the skepticism).

Whether you agree with the evidence, claim, or outcomes of the study, there are few who will refute that the Beer Goggle phenomenon is real.  And while the explanation for such behavior may remain a mystery or under debate, the outcome rarely is.  No surprise, beer can impact your judgment; whether it’s how attracted you are to a member of the opposite sex, your ability to measure the distance to the ground from the structure you’re about to jump from, or your mastery of the English language in the presence of law enforcement. 

This study can be earmarked as another in the ongoing “saga” of Beer Goggle lore; one which “boldly” proclaims women more than men are affected by Beer Goggles, and giving new hope to ugly males everywhere.

Your Choice.  Your Beer.  Drink Up.
- Beer Universe

Chad Pilbeam is a staff writer for Beer Universe, you can follow him @beernbullcbo

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