Beer goggle phenomenon proved – cheers to that!

Scientists at Ohios State and Grenoble universities have found proof of the 'beer goggle' phenomenon. Image: 3DPete

Scientists at Ohios State and Grenoble universities have found proof of the ‘beer goggle’ phenomenon. Image: 3DPete

It’s that time of year again when the bizarre and bamboozling are celebrated for their brilliance.

The Annals of Improbable Research have handed out their annual Ig Nobel Prizes, honouring research and successes which, according to their website: “first make people laugh, then make them think.”

Emerging from the 10 studies noted this year is some serious science that might intrest many students.

‘Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder’ is the title of a study published by scientists at Ohio State, and Grenoble universities, which discusses the proof they found for the legitimacy of the ‘beer goggle’ phenomenon.

In a bar, half of the people were given alcoholic beverages, and the other half were given placebos.

They were then asked to deliver their opinions on how attractive they deemed themselves.

It transpired that people who both had, and simply thought they had been drinking alcohol, were more positive regarding their own level of attractiveness (including characteristics such as brightness and humour, as well as appearance), despite the judges ratings showing that this consumption was ‘unrelated to actual performance’.

Obviously, as many are aware, perceived charm can strongly effect the way a person might act towards others.

Research in the past has shown that ‘beer goggles’ work when someone who has consumed alcohol assesses other people, but now it has been proven that it reflects our opinions of ourselves as well.

Interestingly, in 2005 researchers at the University of Manchester developed an actual equation for quantitatively measuring the ‘beer goggle’ effect, which took into consideration factors such as: lighting, smokiness in a bar, distance from the subject in question, and obviously the number of units of alcohol consumed.

The idea was that the effect in a given scenario was calculated from one (no effect) to 100 (someone you would normally find unattractive suddenly looks like a model).

The Ig Nobel prizes have once again showcased a plethora of absurd, yet fascinating research.

Past research has been honoured on the physics of the ponytail, and the invention of a bra which can convert into a pair of protective masks.

As a side note, this years Ig Nobel Peace Prize went to the president of Belarus, for banning clapping in public. One of the men arrested for disobeying this ruling only had one arm.

Following the successful paths of these previous winners this year was a group who showed that opera could help heal mouse heart transplant patients, and another group came up with evidence proving that dung beetles can navigate by the night skies.

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