Think You're a Happy Drunk? Not So Fast

Those drinking and those observing perceive buzzed personality differently
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2017 8:51 AM CDT
Think You're a Happy Drunk? Not So Fast
KTM rider Cyril Despres of France drinks champagne to celebrate his victory at the 2013 Dakar Rally from La Serena to Santiago, Chile, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.   (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Think you're a happy drunk, a real life of the party? Well, allow science to be your buzzkill. A study out of the University of Missouri published in Clinical Psychological Science finds there's a big difference in the personality you think you take on when you're drinking and the one your friends see. "We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them," says lead author and psychological scientist Rachel Winograd in a release. Researchers rounded up 156 subjects, quizzed them on their "typical" sober or drunk personalities, then fed some enough vodka to jack their BAC to about 0.09%; others were given Sprite. Participants measured their personalities at two points in the session that followed, as did outside observers.

Those imbibing reported differences in all five personality factors: lower levels of conscientiousness, openness to experience, and agreeableness, and higher levels of extraversion and emotional stability. The kicker? Observers only noticed the extraversion, per the Telegraph, specifically gregariousness, assertiveness, and levels of activity. "We believe both the participants and raters were both accurate and inaccurate—the raters reliably reported what was visible to them and the participants experienced internal changes that were real to them but imperceptible to observers," says Winograd, though she adds that you, dear reader, might have to conduct further research: "We also would love to see these findings replicated outside of the lab—in bars, at parties, and in homes where people actually do their drinking." (Winograd previously concluded there are four kinds of drunks.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.