Proof of “beer goggles” theory

Saturday 17 August 2002

Scots scientists have established scientific proof of the “beer goggles” effect, the theory that uglier people look more attractive after a few drinks.

Researchers from the Universities of St Andrews and Glasgow have discovered that men and women who have consumed a moderate amount of alcohol find the faces of members of the opposite sex 25% more attractive than their sober counterparts.

Eighty students from the University of Glasgow were shown colour photographs of 120 male and female University of St Andrews students aged 18-26 and asked to rate their attractiveness on a scale of one (“highly unattractive”) to seven (“highly attractive”). Half of the student ‘viewers’ had drunk between one and four units of alcohol while the others had drunk no alcohol at all.

Professor Barry Jones (Glasgow) and Dr Ben Jones (St Andrews) were surprised to find that the beauty- enhancing effect of drink had been the same among both male and female volunteers.

Professor Jones said his study suggests that alcohol boosts the activity of the part of the human brain which is used to determine facial attractiveness, the nucleus accumbens. Meanwhile, studies using brain scans have shown the activity of the nucleus accumbens increases when men and women are shown images of attractive people.

Professor Jones, who will present the study to an the International Congress on Behavioural Medicine in Finland later this month, said that previous studies had shown that moderate intakes of alcohol increased the risk of unprotected sex, a risk which is also linked to the attractiveness of a partner.


Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- View University press releases on- line at Ref: facesandalcohol/standrews/chg/18aug ust2002


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