Alcohol Doesn't Really Alter Your Personality, Science Confirms (And We're Mortified)

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Back in high school—erm, I mean, as soon as I turned 21 and was legally able to drink—my friends had this phrase they'd often use, called their "happy place." It meant that they had just enough to drink to be buzzed, out-going, and care free, without the obvious repercussions of drinking too much.

Well, it's a good thing I'm not friends with those people anymore because otherwise I'd have to break their hearts by saying that "happy place" was all self-imposed bullshit—according to science, alcohol had very little to do with it. I just want to make it clear that despite my very righteous sounding speech just then, this is very bad for me. I can no longer blame alcohol for how awful I am, #disappointed.

A study conducted by Clinical Psychological Science a journal published by The Association For Psychological Science writes—"People typically report substantive changes to their personality when they become intoxicated, but observations from outsiders suggest less drastic differences between “sober” and “drunk” personalities."

Oh God, alllllllll the bad drunk decisions are just playing on a loop in my brain right now—damn you, science! Not really though, this stuff is actually super interesting. The study continues—"We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them,” says psychological scientist Rachel Winograd of the University of Missouri, St. Louis—Missouri Institute of Mental Health. “Participants reported experiencing differences in all factors of the Five Factor Model of personality, but extraversion was the only factor robustly perceived to be different across participants in alcohol and sober conditions.”

In layman's terms, I think that means YOU think that because you're drinking alcohol that you're SUPPOSED to be feeling certain things and thusly, your behavior follows in suit.

Ultimately the results are not entirely conclusive, but one thing that's for sure is that science will continue to determine just how much those cocktails effect human behavior—"The idea that we transform into different people when we’re under the influence is a popular one. And systematic differences in an individual’s sober behavior and their drunken behaviors can even inform clinical determinations about whether someone has a drinking problem. But the science on “drunk personality” as a concept is less clear. In Winograd’s previous studies, participants reliably reported that their personality changes when they imbibe, but experimental evidence for this kind of global change was lacking."


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