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Sorry, but you can’t blame alcohol for your bad decisions anymore

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Emily Reynolds
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Ahh, blaming all of our bad behaviour on drinking: where would we be without it? I mean, once you’ve left your phone in an Uber three times in a single month, or turned up late to work smelling of booze and clammily clutching a lukewarm Greggs sausage roll, or called your mum at 3am because you were pissed and fancied a chat, the excuses do sort of start to wear thin. But, y’know, you couldn’t help it! You were drunk! 

Anyway, that’s over now, because a new study has revealed that drinking loads actually doesn’t change our personalities very much at all, and that the widespread belief that drinking turns you into a different person is simply a myth. 

What does happen, psychologists say, is that we just become more extroverted – drinking helps us lose our inhibitions, even when we probably shouldn’t really lose them at all.

The study, conducted at the University of Missouri, saw 156 participants drink four cocktails over 15 minutes – apparently okay in a piece of “scientific research” but not “at my desk at 10.30am”. Smacks of double standards but fine, whatever.

Before they got drunk, they completed a survey asking them questions about their alcohol consumption, as well as questions about their “typical drunk” and “typical sober” personalities. 

After drinking, they were also asked to take part in “group activities” specifically designed to highlight or bring out certain personality traits. And though participants themselves believed they had higher levels of emotional stability and lower levels of conscientiousness, psychologists only measured significant changes in extroversion. 

“There may be a small subset of people who turn into someone completely different when they are drunk, and this may suggest an alcohol problem, but on the whole, most people do not,” said the study’s lead researcher, Rachel Winograd. “We saw people laughing louder, making jokes, doing funny dances, which they would likely not have done sober. But this does not mean that if people behave badly when very drunk, that they are not responsible.” 

So next time you make a bad decision when you’re drunk: it’s on you, mate. Sorry. 
 

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Emily Reynolds

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