Despite the practice of using alcohol as a social lubricant, a new study finds that too much alcohol could make you more socially awkward. Silver lining: Most of the time, everyone is drunk and awkward together?
In the study, led by K. Luan Phan at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 12 college students were given either an alcoholic beverage or a non-alcoholic beverage before undergoing brain scans. The students were then asked to match up facial expressions: happy faces with happy faces, angry faces with angry people, fearful, or neutral.
Interestingly enough, the research found that drunk participants tended to get facial expressions mixed up, LiveScience reports. The results, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, concluded that intoxicated subjects tended to have disjointed "functional connectivity." In other words, they had a harder time distinguishing emotions, especially when the emotions were anger or fear.
"This suggests that during acute alcohol intoxication, emotional cues that signal threat are not being processed in the brain normally, because the amygdala is not responding as it should be," Phan said in a statement.
Of course, the small sample size means the research will have to be replicated to confirm the findings, but if these results hold true, it might just explain why that mysterious stranger from last night didn't call you.