(CBS Local) — Blaming last night’s actions or decisions on excessive alcohol consumption is commonplace and a moderately forgivable offense. However, there isn’t much science to back up this conventional wisdom. Booze doesn’t alter your personality, it simply exaggerates it, according to a study published in Clinical Psychological Science.
In the study, 156 participants were studied. Some were given non-alcoholic drinks and others were given drinks designed to bring the blood alcohol content to .09, which would be over the legal limit to drive. The participants, as well as observers watching a video feed, reported their observations.
The drinkers reported a lower rate of agreeability and openness to experience but higher levels of extroversion. But, the observers observed only a difference in extroversion.
“We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them,” said Rachel Winograd, lead researcher and psychological scientist of the University of Missouri. “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.”
The next step, according to Winograd, is for research to continue somewhere outside of a lab and in natural settings, such as bars and parties.
“Of course, we also would love to see these findings replicated outside of the lab – in bars, at parties, and in homes where people actually do their drinking,” said Dr Winograd. “Most importantly, we need to see how this work is most relevant in the clinical realm and can be effectively included in interventions to help reduce any negative impact of alcohol on peoples’ lives.”