Beer Goggles: An Inconvenient Truth

Kim Conte
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beer gogglesMost people who partake in a cocktail (or seven) now and then are familiar with the term "beer goggles." This expression is typically used to describe the tendency of alcohol to make even the most unattractive person look, well, stunningly gorgeous.

As it turns out, beer goggles aren't merely a convenient excuse to help explain away an embarrassing hook-up. Rather, as scientists have discovered, it's an actual phenomenon that occurs because of how our brains react to alcohol. And, bad news for us, ladies: It affects women more than men ...

According to a team of British researchers who studied 64 intoxicated and sober students, here's how beer goggles work:

Humans have a tendency to find symmetry (in other words, symmetrical faces) beautiful. So isn't it convenient that when we drink adult beverages, the part of the brain that detects symmetry is one of the first things to go? (Answer: No. It's decidedly inconvenient.)

In other words, go ahead, have another margarita. But know that tequila is dulling your brain's ability to recognize ugly, asymmetrical faces. In fact, the whole bar probably looks like supermodels by now. Venture forth at your own risk.

The study also showed that men are less prone to lose this ability than women; in explanation, researchers cited the facts that men are more visually oriented and more stimulated by sights. But is it possible that men -- both sober and inebriated -- are frankly less symmetrically finicky (read: picky) than we are? I'm no scientist but I'm going to go with this reasoning.

Are you surprised to hear that beer goggles really do exist?

 

Image via flawedartist/Flickr

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