It's the thought that counts

Mere suggestion of drink can trigger 'beer goggles'

May 5, 2005 - New research indicates that the mere suggestion of alcohol may act as an aphrodisiac. "What is most surprising is that mere expectancy can influence perception," said Markus Denzler, of the International University Bremen, Germany, and a co-author of the research report.


Other research has proved that "beer goggles" cause those drinking to judge potential partners as more attractive in proportion to how drunk a person is.

The new study indicates that people expect from alcohol can be produced by simple exposure to flashes of alcohol-related words on a computer screen. Ronald Friedman, a psychologist at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and his colleagues tested the idea on 82 male undergraduate students.

The researchers first questioned the men about how they felt alcohol affected their libido, and then presented them with rapidly flashing words and jumbled letters on a computer screen. One group was exposed to cue words that suggested alcohol, including beer, whisky, martini and malt; the other, control group was exposed to words such as smoothie, espresso and ice.

The men then rated 21 female high-school graduation photos on a scale of 1 to 9 in terms of attractiveness. The men who expected alcohol to boost their libido rated photos more favourably after subconsciously viewing alcohol cue words.

Those who expected alcohol to reduce their performance actually rated the girls as less attractive after boozy words.

The findings are reaseon for concern, Friedman said: "These expectations about drugs or alcohol can be activated without your awareness."