OK, this might not come as a particularly massive surprise to you, but a psychological study has shown that beer appears to make people less shy about sex.
Scientists found drinking a pint made it easier for volunteers to view explicit sexual images – and the effect of this was greater for women than men.
However, no change was actually seen in levels of sexual arousal. So, there you go…
Another effect of the beer was, yep, a boost in positive behaviour. After downing half a litre of beer, study participants were more attracted to happy faces and social situations. Which goes some way towards providing an explanation for “beer goggles”.
You know what we’re talking about…the influence of alcohol can *sometimes* make a person appear more beautiful than they perhaps are.
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 (ECNP) annual meeting in Vienna and also appears in the journal Psychopharmacology.
For the study, the researchers recruited 60 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 50 and gave half of them a half litre glass of alcoholic beer. The remaining participants were given non-alcoholic beer.
The volunteers were then asked to perform a range of tasks including a face recognition test, an empathy test and a sexual arousal test.
Beer drinking had no effect on levels of the hormone oxytocin, which is thought to act as a “social lubricant” and assist bonding between individuals.