Report: Alcohol doesn't change personality as much as you think

A study published in "clinical psychological science" says alcohol may have less effect on personality than we believe. (May 15, 2017)

No more blaming it on the alcohol.

It turns out, having one too many drinks doesn't change personality as much as people may think.

Individuals report a substantial change to their personality when they become intoxicated, but others don't notice as drastic of a change between a person's "sober" and "drunk" personality, according to a new study published in the Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science

Researchers recruited 156 participants and asked them to survey their "drunk" and "sober" personalities before going into a lab study.

The participants came into a lab in groups of 3 or 4 and some were given various amounts of alcohol to drink while others were given non-alcoholic drinks. After 15 minutes of drinking, the group engaged in fun activities, such as puzzles or discussion questions, in order to bring out their personalities. 

The participants evaluated their personality twice during the lab while they were video recorded and researchers completed assessments of their behavior. 

“We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them,” said psychological scientist Rachel Winograd of the University of Missouri, St. Louis—Missouri Institute of Mental Health in a press statement. “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.”

Participants reported a change in conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, and they reported higher levels of extraversion and emotional stability.

However, researchers didn't notice much change in any of the personality traits except extraversion, specifically in social behavior, assertiveness and activity levels.

“We believe both the participants and raters were both accurate and inaccurate — the raters reliably reported what was visible to them and the participants experienced internal changes that were real to them but imperceptible to observers,” Winograd explained.

The reason why both parties noted a difference in extraversion is because it's the most outwardly visible trait, according to the study.

Researchers have yet to test their findings outside the lab in a social setting such as a bar or party.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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