Women might want to think twice about going to their local watering hole to meet men since a study recently published in the journal Alcohol (via Discovery News) found that the old “drunk goggle” effect is more potent for females. Imbibing blurs people’s abilities to detect facial symmetry, which is a cross-cultural beauty marker. For that reason, the hottie across the bar might not look so stunning in the light of day.
Researchers at Roehampton University in London traipsed around bars for an evening to test college students’ facial symmetry spotting skills. They first administered breathalyzer tests to separate the tipsy from the teetotalers, then showed participants a series of faces and asked them to rate their attractiveness. Drunk women had a harder time picking out symmetrical faces and tended to dole out more liberal attractiveness scores. Drunk men didn’t pinpoint symmetrical faces as well as their sober compatriots, but they still performed better than equally sauced women.
The researchers attribute the gender difference to males’ visually stimulated attraction instincts. Women, on the other hand, tend to base attraction on a broader set of characteristics. Also, beer goggles might also be something of a self-fulfilling prophesy, according to a study in the journal Addiction. Essentially, the more participants associated sex with drinking, the more attractive they rated the their fellow partygoers.
And while drunk goggles might not affect men as much as women, a 2005 study still found that intoxication certainly impacts their sexual decision-making. Inebriated men might approach perfectly symmetrical people, but alcohol consumption increases both men’s and women’s chances of engaging in risky (read: unprotected) sexual behavior.