College researchers studied if consuming alcohol helps make others seem more attractive. Well, duh.


A couple of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh decided it was high time to settle a perpetually vexing and vigorously debated question: Is there such a thing as beer goggles?

Well, the title of their paper is a bit more erudite — “Perception of physical attractiveness when consuming and not consuming alcohol: a meta-analysis” — but you get the idea.

So, yes, Pitt graduate student Molly Bowdring and psychology professor Michael Sayette looked into whether there was any truth to the time-honored notion that knocking back a few boosts an imbiber’s perception of attractiveness in fellow happy hour participants.

Drum roll, please…

The pair concluded:

  • Why yes, in a primary analysis “alcohol was related significantly to enhanced attractiveness perceptions.”
  • In addition, they found “alcohol’s association with perception of opposite-sex attractiveness similarly yielded a small, significant positive association.”

Well, well. Who knew?

However, “alcohol’s relation to perception of same-sex attractiveness was not significant,” they found.

What was behind the pair’s research?

For their study, Sayette and Bowdring reviewed already available research, including those involving participants consuming alcohol and then grading photos of other people in terms of attractiveness, KDKA-TV reported.

Bowdring believes more comprehensive research could be done – including interactions between people rather than grading photos: “In the real world, you typically have both people drinking in a bar setting,” she said, according to the station.

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