Are Beer Goggles Real?

Most people are acquainted with the concept of beer goggles, though if you have never heard of beer goggles before fret not; the theory is not very difficult to understand. Essentially thought to explain why someone “decent” looking should find someone of a lower physical ranking (or someone thought to be in a lower league or otherwise unattractive) a suitable sexual partner, beer goggles are the lens someone looks through after having downed a considerable quantity of alcohol. Beer goggles “make” whomever is “wearing” them consider individuals they otherwise would have ignored as possible sexual partners.

You can see why beer goggles would generally be thought of as a joke, or as an excuse, and not a scientific phenomena in which people actually appear physically differently to someone. After all, it makes much more sense that someone inebriated would merely lower their standards in order to acquire a higher likelihood of sexual engagement than actually perceive a group of strangers at a bar differently, does it not? Someone wearing beer goggles is considered to merely be more promiscuous because they are, after all, intoxicated.

But how real are beer goggles and how substantial are they as a reason to find someone unlikely attractive? An alcohol study conducted in England gave 84 participants, all who were heterosexual college students, a lime drink which may or may not have contained alcohol. After waiting fifteen minutes so that the effects of the alcohol could settle within those who had been given the alcohol containing beverage, all of the alcohol study participants were shown a series of 40 photos. The results were rather pressing for those thinking beer goggles are simply an urban legend.

All of the alcohol study participants which had been given alcohol in their lime drink found the people shown in the series of 40 photos to be more attractive than the non-alcohol drinking control group. Furthermore, it didn’t matter if the alcohol study participants had been shown images of people of the same of opposite gender; they consistently found everyone to be more attractive by about 10 percent more than the control group.

To ensure general mood did not alter or adulterate results, all of the alcohol study participants were asked to measure their mood so that the alcohol study findings could not be discredited, or attributed to a change in mood caused by alcohol (rather than a change in actual perception of beauty which would suggest the reality of beer goggles). However, all of the alcohol study participants, whether they had been given alcohol or not, reported having the same mood.

Does this alcohol study suggest that beer goggles will make others appear 10 percent more attractive? This particular alcohol study gave their experimental participant group the amount of alcohol found in about one glass of wine, or the amount of alcohol found in “one drink”. Clearly, people are subject to drink more heavily than this, especially in instances in which beer goggles are later explained for a reason in forming decisions. Therefore, it is possible this alcohol study suggests that one drink will increase the attractiveness of someone by at least 10 percent, though it remains to be seen whether additional drinks will cause this increased attraction and by how much. Scientists, though eager to unlock the exact mechanics of beer goggles, report hesitations due to the ethical nature of giving alcohol study participants large amounts of the liquid, however willing said participants may be.

Typically, we think of beer goggles pertaining to only human faces, although it’s possible beauty in general increases when we become intoxicated. There have yet to be studies to suggest this theory is correct, but scientists believe beer goggles may be a lens through which all of reality is changed perceptually. More than simply justifying the idea of beer goggles, this could explain why alcoholics choose to continue drinking.

Choi, Charles Q. “Look Out! ‘Beer Goggles’ Are Real – Health – Behavior –” – Breaking News, Science and Tech News, World News, US News, Local News- 2008. Web. 18 May 2011.