Noted British social scientist Dr Amanda Ellison has made news in that country by claiming in an interview with the Telegraph, that “beer goggles” are a myth. The term refers to the supposed change in perception regarding the opposite sex when consuming alcohol-the more a person drinks, the better other people begin to look. She adds, in an interview with Mail Online, that it’s more that the part of the brain involved in sexual attraction is the last in line to be impacted by alcohol.
It’s a part of most modern cultures, the idea that drinking alcoholic beverages causes changes in people that impact how attractive they see others-television sitcoms have used it as a sub-plot for years. There is also ample anecdotal evidence to support the notion, Online says, but Ellison says it’s all based on misinterpretation of what really goes on when people are drinking. She says countless studies have shown that drinking alcohol simply does not cause a change in how people see others. Instead she argues, it comes down to the way the brain processes information, and the order. She notes that vision, because it’s one of the first to be affected by alcohol, does change when imbibing, but not the way people assume. Instead of causing changes to physical features, it instead causes dysfunction of distance and in some cases, causes some slight blurring of distant objects. It can also cause a sensitivity to light. None of which contribute to making someone else look better.
It’s because, she says, the part of the brain in charge of sexual desire continues to operate normally, as other parts of the brain become impaired, most notably, the part involved in emotion and decision making. This means, she says, that it’s not that people believe someone actually looks better, it’s more that their sexual desire is higher and their normal reasoning process is impaired. The end result, she acknowledges, is quite often the same-people are more likely to engage with someone while drinking that they would not engage with were they sober. The difference is in the mechanism that gets them to that point, not a change in how they perceive them to look.
It’s an important distinction, she adds, because people quite often allow themselves to behave in ways they wouldn’t otherwise, because they know beforehand that they can use it as an excuse to behave in ways that wouldn’t allow themselves to otherwise. Taking away the myth of beer goggles, is akin to reminding people that they are responsible for their actions whether drinking or not.