Scientists Confirm Existence Of 'Beer Goggles' After Drinking—And They Work Best on Women

Beer goggles
A man wears novelty glasses at the Great British Beer Festival, London, August 13, 2013. A study has found that beer drinking made it easier for volunteers to view explicit sexual images. Oli Scarff/Getty

Scientists have finally proved what has been suspected for a long time—the existence of beer goggles.

A study found that beer drinking made it easier for volunteers to view explicit sexual images, and the effect was greater for women than for men.

Another effect was a boost in positive behavior. After downing half a liter of beer, study participants were more attracted to happy faces and social situations.

The findings go some way towards providing an explanation for "beer goggles"—a slang term used to describe how the influence of alcohol can make an unattractive person appear beautiful.

Lead researcher Professor Matthias Liechti, from Basel University Hospital in Switzerland, said: "The effect of many medications and substances of abuse have been tested on various tests of emotion processing and social cognition.

"However, although many people drink beer and know its effects through personal experience, there is surprisingly little scientific data on its effects on the processing of emotional social information.

"We found that drinking a glass of beer helps people see happy faces faster, and enhances concern for positive emotional situations.

"Alcohol also facilitates the viewing of sexual images, consistent with disinhibition, but it does not actually enhance sexual arousal.

"These effects of alcohol on social cognition likely enhance sociability."

The research was presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology's (ECNP) annual meeting in Vienna.