British researchers have discovered why drinking alcohol makes other people look better. The reason is linked to humans' preference for symmetrical faces. Bad news for women: You get more affected by the beer goggles than men.
By nature, humans find symmetry beautiful, but alcohol affects the part of the brain that is capable of detecting symmetry. As a result, as the blood's alcohol content increases, the brain gets confused and starts to believe that every person around has more symmetrical, aesthetically pleasant faces.
The study was conducted over a group of 64 students. First, the researchers showed each student 20 pairs of faces, one symmetrical, the other asymmetrical. They asked them to pick the prettiest face. Then, they showed them 20 individual faces, one by one, and asked them to judge if the face was symmetrical or asymmetrical.
The result showed that intoxicated students had difficulty making these choices, while sober students didn't, having a clear preference for symmetrical faces. Among the students, women were the most affected. The study doesn't explain exactly why women get more affected. Scientists were surprised by this, but think that the difference in the fact that men are more visually oriented than women. In the words of Lewis Halsey, one of the team members at Roehampton University in London, "Men tend to ogle more than women do."
While some British researchers came up with a formula to calculate the effect of alcohol combined with other environmental factors, this is the first time that a study has established the reason why alcohol messes up our perception of other humans. [Discovery]
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