Men Like to Get Drunk Together... Because Science
Apparently alcohol acts as a social lubricant for men.
A study published in Clinical Psychological Science found that alcohol consumption makes men more receptive to rewarding social behavior like smiling. The findings suggest that this may be a contributing factor to drinking problems in men.
Previous studies have demonstrated that men are twice as likely to drink excessively than women and that the majority of this drinking occurs socially.
A group of 720 healthy social drinkers aging 21 to 28 were divided into three groups. Each group was assigned a drink, an alcoholic beverage, a non-alcoholic beverage and a faux alcoholic beverage that was designed to appear alcoholic. (Vodka was smeared on the glass and a few drops were added to the surface of the drink to create the impression of alcohol content)
The bar-rats were then situated around a table and told to drink at an even pace but were given no additional instructions about interaction. Video of the interactions was collected and evaluated for the contagiousness smiles from one individual to another in the group.
The results indicated that alcohol increased the likelihood that smiles would catch, suggesting that the alcohol causes social bravery and derails the mechanisms that would normally prevent someone from returning a smile.
Interestingly enough, these effects were not present in groups that included women.