How Do Beer Goggles Work?

(Independent) Scientists solve the mystery of how beer goggles work

ROGER DOBSON SUNDAY 01 APRIL 2012

If you’ve ever had one too many and tumbled into bed with a vision, only to be greeted in the morning by a sight you’d gnaw off your own arm to escape, take heart. It won’t make the memory any less painful, but you can take comfort from the fact that there is now academic underpinning for the effect known commonly as “beer goggles”.

In scientific terms, even a little alcohol reduces the ability to assess facial symmetry, which plays a key role in attractiveness and human mate selection.

The effect is particularly pronounced in women, with female drinkers less able to distinguish between attractive and not so attractive men after just a couple of vodkas.

Facial symmetry, where one side of the face mirrors the other, is thought to have evolved as a mark of attractiveness as it signifies good genes. Both sexes select outward signs of genetic quality to ensure better offspring. Ratings of attractiveness in the opposite sex are highest when symmetry is at its greatest, research has shown. It’s also known that attractiveness rises when people have had a drink or three: the beer goggles effect.

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Also see Is Alcohol Really Addictive?Do You Really Drink More When the Economy Is Failing?Why You Should Always Be in a Familiar EnvironmentWhy Do Ordinarily Peaceful People Become Violent and Aggressive While Drunk? and The Risk Gene: Can You Become a City Banker?

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