From Science Daily: What does drinking beer really do? A new study has shown that drinking beer affects the way we see specific emotions and allows us to see happy faces faster. It also has surprising effects on sexual perception. These results* are presented at the ECNP Conference in Vienna, with simultaneous publication in the peer-reviewed journal Psychopharmacology.
Although the vast majority of adults have direct experience of drinking alcohol, there is surprisingly little scientific data on the effects of alcohol on the processing of emotional social information or on sexual arousal, and no data on the effects of alcohol on empathy. Now researchers from the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, have attempted to answer some of the questions around the way alcohol alters the way we relate to others, and how alcohol affects sexual arousal.
In a double-blind, random-order, cross-over study, researchers enlisted 60 healthy participants (30 men, 30 women) aged between 18 and 50.They then gave 30 of them a glass of alcoholic beer (0.5L depending on body weight and sex). This raised their blood alcohol content to around 0.4 g/L Thirty control subjects were given non-alcoholic beer.
The subjects then underwent a range of tasks, including a face recognition test, empathy test, and sexual arousal test. At the end of the tests, the subjects and controls were switched and the process repeated. The main results they found were:
· Drinking beer helps people see happy faces faster.
· It also increased the tendency to want to be with others in a happy social situation.
· These effects were greater in women than in men, but were also greater in those who had previously shown some social inhibition.
· It made it easier for people (especially women) to view explicit sexual images, but it didn't seem to lead to greater sexual arousal.