Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?

Drinking limits


Most people think alcohol helps you to relax and is a social lubricant.

So researchers wondered why drunk people tended to get into arguments.

We know from other research that people under the influence of alcohol are less capable of getting the punch line in jokes but it also seems that when we are under the influence we are more likely to see intent in behaviour even when none exists.

Given a number of situations, some of which were clearly no-ones fault, people under the influence of alcohol were significantly more likely to want to blame someone for their behaviour.

The experts think that it takes cognitive effort to overcome this “intentionality bias” and alcohol not only has a disinhibiting effect but also narrows attention and makes people under its influence less likely to consider alternative explanations.

Drunken people, like Napoleon, are more likely to believe that there is no such thing as an accident.

Updated 1 December 2010: A Scientific American blog reports on a study presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management in August.   It says that we know alcohol impairs a person’s reasoning abilities but researchers found that booze also diminishes how smart others perceive us to be.

In a series of six experiments, the investigators consistently found that participants rated people in pictures, videos and face-to-face encounters as less intelligent when they held or drank alcoholic beverages than when they drank nonalcoholic beverages or nothing at all.

They called it the  “imbibing idiot bias”  and it even persisted when participants drank fake alcoholic beverages that did not interfere with their cognitive functioning.

Most strikingly, in mock interviews volunteers judged job candidates as less intelligent when they ordered an alcoholic drink—even when the person interviewing them had done so first.


Author: mikethepsych

He says he's a psychologist but aren't we all?

2 thoughts on “Drinking limits

  1. Pingback: Booze & hangover cures – fact and fiction « Mike the Psych's Blog

  2. Found this in local paper while ago…I thought it might be relevant 😉 (please forgive my very rough translation….)

    The degree of drunkenness:
    1. THE SMARTEST. On that level you become the smartest person in the whole world. Not only do you know all the answers you are also eager to share this knowledge with everyone who is ready to listen. And you are ALWAYS right, your companions are ALWAYS wrong of course. Just imagine how interesting the conversation can be if both are the smartest.
    2. THE MOST ATTRACTIVE. On that level you suddenly realize that you are the best looking person in pub (club, winery etc…) and that people really like you. So you can approach anyone being sure you will be liked by that person and that that person would be delighted to have a conversation with you, because you are the SMARTEST person in the whole world.
    3. THE RICHEST. At that moment you realize that you are very very rich. You can by drinks for everyone (why not, your bullet proof SUV is packed with money). On that stage you can also bet – again, why not, you are the SMARTEST, so you always win. It does not really matter how many money you put in a bet – you are the RICHEST. And you buy drinks to everyone you like because you are the BEST GOOD LOOKING person in the whole world.
    4. BULLETPROOF. On that level you challenge and pick a fight with everyone, especially those you had arguments about bets with. You can do that because no-one or nothing can hurt or harm you. You can also approach the partners of people you like and challenge their intelligence or money. You can not lose, because you are the SMARTEST, the RICHEST and oh yeah… you LOOK WAY BETTER than any of them.
    5. INVISIBLE. That is the last stage. On that moment you can do whatever you like because nobody can see you. You can dance on the table to impress people you like (others just will not able to see you). You are also invisible to a person who wants to have fight with you. Or you can yell out loud any song while walking on a street – nobody can see or hear you anyway and besides, you know the lyrics to every song, because you are the SMARTEST.