'Beer Goggles' Called Into Question, Ruining Our Weekend Stories

New research suggests that alcohol doesn't change how attractive you find someone, but past experience says otherwise

Well, this ruins a lot of excuses for Saturday night mistakes; a new book from Dr. Amanda Ellison claims that beer goggles are a myth. Oops?

In her latest book Getting Your Head Around the Brain, The Daily Mail reports, Ellison pulls together a variety of studies about booze and beauty, coming up with the conclusion that being drunk doesn't make other people look more attractive. "We still see others basically as they are," Ellison said. "There is no imagined physical transformation — just more desire."

Basically, Ellison says, alcohol lowers inhibitions, but doesn't literally make people seem more attractive. "Alcohol switches off the rational and decision-making areas of the brain while leaving the areas to do with sexual desire relatively intact, and so this explains beer goggles," Ellison says.

Of course, past research has also shown that the drunker you are, the more attractive you yourself feel. So rational decision-making never seems in the book after one too many drinks.


Ellison's theory does, however, go against past experiments proving the power of beer goggles; in one study, men rated pictures of women higher after looking at alcohol-related words. Other research from the University of Roehampton in London found that drunk subjects had difficulty identifying asymmetrical faces (symmetry being a standard in beauty, historically). So we're not quite sure what to make of all these theories, but as MSN suggests, some experimentation might be in order, specifically at the power of tequila-related beer goggles.