Has it been like this that at a party, your best friend introduced you to someone when you were two pegs down already, but the next day, when looking at the selfies, you find that guy unattractive? Or have you ever faced such a situation where you and your crush are at an office party, and suddenly, after two drinks, you feel courageous enough to ask him for a coffee? That is what alcohol does to you: it gives you beer goggles or liquid courage!
What Is Beer Goggles? Does It Exist?
The beer goggles effect makes a person find another person more attractive than they are, all because of alcohol. Drinking beer lowers your inhibitions, making the brain relax. People in such a situation socialize more, which eventually can lead to flirting. The beer goggles effect (prevalent from the 1980s) is such that these people will otherwise (in a sober state) not mingle with the current personalities they are chasing.
Coming to the point, is the beer goggles effect merely psychological? There are multiple studies contradicting the outcomes. However, people blame alcohol for making wrong choices when choosing partners.
What Is Liquid Courage?
Often, when blaming it on the alcohol, people are more confused with the fact, “whether it is beer goggles or liquid courage?” That made them behave in such a way! Now that you know about the beer goggles effect, let’s help you with the liquid courage definition. Originating in the 17th century, the term liquid courage or alcohol courage gets its name from a particular incident. The soldiers participating in the battle from the frontline were offered a good amount of gin and tonic to boost their confidence.
The brain produces a considerable amount of dopamine under the influence of alcohol. The dopamine hormone is associated with pleasure and makes people confident and powerful. Also, alcohol directly impacts the part of the brain responsible for making good judgment. This nullifies your fears and helps you decide without thinking through them – the liquid courage effect.
What Makes It Easy To Reach Out Easily? Beer Goggles Or Liquid Courage
Contrary to the regular belief, the beer goggles effect does not make one find the other person attractive. A new study highlights that consuming alcohol enhances the likelihood of people reaching out to the potentials they already find attractive, i.e., liquid courage. Alcohol cannot change the way you feel about a person or make them appear more attractive than they are.
In the study, Molly Bowdring and Michael Sayette focused on creating a more practical scenario. They wanted to stimulate similar decisions a person would otherwise make when drinking out with friends or family.
- The study involved 18 pairs of male friends (in their 20s) in a controlled laboratory environment. They were subjected to alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks under different sessions to make up a relatable social drinking situation.
- The men under the influence of alcohol were more likely to choose one among the top four candidates presented in front of them for a meeting.
- The participant’s ratings on attractiveness didn’t change when they were sober. Thus, there were no prominent effects of beer goggles.
An In-depth Study
The new study was far more realistic than the conventional research done earlier. In the previous studies, participants were only part of a laboratory situation and rated people while being sober or intoxicated by seeing the photos. On the contrary, the new study had an added possibility, where participants, after being done rating, could meet the people for real.
Once inside the laboratory, the men received alcoholic drinks per the legal limit for driving in the US. On other days, they got to have a non-alcoholic drink. The pair got to mimic social interactions they would otherwise do while drinking in a pub or at home. The men’s sense of attractiveness did not change under any possible circumstance. However, the likeness to select one among the top four candidates to meet increased 1.71 times than when the participants were sober.
Thus, the results indicate liquid courage affects brain functionality when confused between beer goggles or liquid courage. Alcohol, rather than altering perceptions, made it easy for participants to decide they wanted to meet the ones they found attractive.
The research team also highlighted how alcohol enhances GABA transmission in the human brain. They have drawn attention to how other studies prove that a decrease in the GABA secretion level among certain brain regions, like the basolateral amygdala and prefrontal cortex, caps animal sociability. An increase in the GABA secretion level can have the opposite effect.
The team plans to conduct further studies on how the newly found theory of liquid courage affecting human confidence can be regulated or how far it can affect the brain’s functioning. Until then, you have a concrete answer for why you feel more courageous when on drinks.