Beauty is in the eye of the beer-holder

2012-03-29 22:44

Lyon - French scientists say they have confirmed the folklore that a glass in your hand will make you feel sexier, smarter and funnier, even when others privately think you are a turkey.

Psychologists led by Laurent Begue at the Pierre-Mendes France University in the southeastern city of Grenoble carried out an unusual experiment in a local bar and then in laboratory conditions.

In the first stage, 19 drinkers, two-thirds of them men, were asked to assess their attractiveness on a scale of one to seven.

Their alcohol levels were measured by a breathalyser, and true to form, the higher the amount of booze that had been drunk, the rosier the self-assessment.

In the second phase, 94 men were invited to taste-test a new fruit cocktail on behalf of a research firm that was in fact a bogus company set up for the purposes of the experiment.

They were told that half of the volunteers would be given an alcoholic version of the cocktail and the others would be given a non-alcoholic version. No-one knew which was which.

They were then asked to write and deliver a filmed message that was supposed to be used in advertisements for the new "brand".

Each volunteer was asked to watch his film and rate his own performance for attractiveness, brightness, originality and humour.

A curiosity

Their alcohol concentrations were measured - the levels ranged from zero to twice the legal drink-driving limit.

But the data showed up a curiosity.

Those who believed they had drunk alcohol gave themselves high self-assessments, regardless of whether they had imbibed any booze or not.

And those who had believed they had not drunk any alcohol gave themselves a low assessment, even when there had been a hefty shot of pure alcohol in their drink.

"Our study shows that the mere fact of believing that you have drunk alcohol makes you feel more attractive," Begue told AFP. "The alcohol dose has no effect in itself."

The study, due to be published shortly in British Journal of Psychology, suggests the buzz is a placebo effect.

It contends there is a cultural phenomenon called "alcohol-related expectancy" by which one believes that a drink will boost one's own attractiveness.


"The concept of alcohol is linked to social lubrification, to making you feel at ease with others," said Begue.

The downside, of course, is that the sexy charmer that you confidently feel is not what others may see.

In Begue's experiment, a panel of independent judges later watched the filmed presentations.

Many gave a low attractiveness rating to the men who, at the time, had believed themselves to be silver-tongued devils.

Previous research has established that other people become more attractive the more you drink - a tendency popularly known as "wearing beer goggles".

Read more on:    france  |  research

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Meet instagram star, Pumpkin the racoon

With 300 000 followers and growing Pumpkin is winning over the internet!



The cats that cost R35 000
Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy
13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.