131 Alcohol and Feeling Attractive

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Based on research by Bègue, Laurent, Bushman, B.J., Zerhouni, O., Subra, B., and Ourabah, M. (2013), written by Eleanor Fulton, Psy.D.

Have you ever had a few drinks and felt more attractive, even believed that people thought you were awesome? Is this real or an illusion?

French researchers examined the relationship between alcohol and perceived attraction. Participants were given either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. Half of each group believed they had consumed alcohol and half believed they had not. All rated a videotape of themselves giving an advertisement of the beverage consumed on how attractive, bright, original and funny they were.

Results were surprising. Intoxicated persons as well as those persons who had not consumed any alcohol, but thought they had, viewed themselves as more attractive. This indicates that our self-perceptions are changed not by the effects of alcohol, but by something else, memories of our experience with alcohol use. Unattractive as well as attractive persons increased in their feelings of attractiveness when using alcohol. There was no evidence that alcohol-related expectancies decreased perceived attractiveness in unattractive individuals. Independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance. Judges equally rated the attractiveness of those who thought they were sober or drunk, indicating that although individuals who drink think they are more attractive, others do not.

So the next time you have alcohol to drink, remember, you are more attractive only in your own eyes!


Bègue, L., Bushman, B.J., Zerhouni, O., Subra, B., and Ourabah, M. (2013). ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder’: People who think they are drunk also think they are attractive. The British Journal of Psychology (0007-1269), 104 (2), 225-234.

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