Is there anyone who hasn’t used alcohol as an excuse for why they were attracted to someone who, in sobering daylight, wouldn’t make us look twice? But that reasoning, it turns out, is pretty feeble, according to a recent study.
Taking into account the fact that humans are naturally attracted to younger-looking physical features, two British psychologists aimed to determine if drunkenness changes our perception of age and how attracted we are to neoteny, the retention of youthful features like smooth skin and larger eyes.
The 240 male and female subjects-half who were sober and half who’d been drinking-were shown photographs of females whose craniofacial features were digitally altered to look either 15 or 19 years old. On average, the participants considered the “15-year-olds” more attractive than the “19-year-olds”-regardless of their level of sobriety. The only time the “19-year-olds” prevailed with the drinkers was when they were wearing makeup.
Perhaps even more surprising is that both sober and inebriated participants estimated the “15-year-olds” to be over 18, poking holes in some men’s excuse that they picked up an underage girl because they were drunk and couldn’t tell. (A teetotaler could make the same mistake!)
Ultimately, the researchers found that alcohol does little to alter our opinion of another person’s attractiveness. It may, however, lower our inhibitions, judgment and standards.
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