A recent paper published by University of Nebraska-Lincoln confirms all those old sayings about beauty related to alcohol
Those popular songs and barstool philosophers’ comments about how after a few drinks people change how they look have been confirmed. University of Nebraska-Lincoln psychology researchers used eye-tracking technology to investigate alcohol’s influence on when college-age men drop their gaze from a woman’s face to other parts of her anatomy.
“Beauty is in the Eye of the Beer Holder: An Initial Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol, Attractiveness, Warmth, and Competence on the Objectifying Gage in Men” is the name of the paper, published by Abbey Riemer. This research confirms that intoxicated participants do spend more significantly less time examining women’s faces compared to sober participants. This study also showed that drunk men were more likely to “check out” the body parts of women they perceived as unfriendly or unintelligent. Riemer, a doctoral student in psychology and lead author of the study, says intoxicated men in the study were less likely to objectify women they perceived as warm and competent and those who were of average of attractiveness.
Although the study only involved 49 college-age men, it could offer insights on how to prevent sexually aggressive behavior; particularly, in situations where alcohol is being used, sad Reimer and her co-authors, Sarah Gervais and Davi DiLillo, psychology faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“Me, too”, social media movement, recently brought to light that alcohol use may well has been a factor in many of the sexual harassment and sexual incidents on college campuses. The paper written by Riemer tested how “alcohol myopia interrelates with sexual objectification. This theory says that intoxication limits the amount of information people can process, narrowing their perceptions to the most provoking stimuli”.
Study participants ranged in age from 21 to 27 years old. More than three-fourths were white. Upon arrival at the laboratory, some participants were randomly assigned to drink a mixture of orange juice and grain alcohol until they reached legal intoxication levels. Other participants were given drinks that smelled and tasted of alcohol, but contained a trivial amount of liquor, not enough to make them drunk.
Researches used eye-tracking equipment to measure whether participants looked at faces, chests, or waists as they viewed photographs of 80 college-age women dressed to go out to a party or a bar. The photos previously had been screened by more than 300 men and women who rated the images based upon whether the women appeared attractive, warm, or competent.
Each image was categorized: high, average, and low levels of each attribute. The researchers stressed that the participants’ responses were based upon their perceptions of images. When participants were asked to focus on the pictured women’s appearance, they were more likely to use what researchers call “objectifying gace”, spending more time looking at sexual body parts and less time looking at the face.
Gervais and DiLillo found that men self-reported that they were more likely to look at women as sexual objects after drinking. Gervais said the new study creates a more nuanced view of the notion of “beer goggles”; it wasn’t that participants found more women to be attractive after consuming alcohol. She also says when women don’t appear friendly or aren’t perceived as intelligent, intoxicated men will spend less time looking at their faces and more time looking at their sexual body parts.
The study was published last Dec. 20. Other researchers involved included Michael Dod, and graduate students Michelle Haikalis and Molly Franz.
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