Beer goggles: Blood alcohol concentration in relation to attractiveness ratings for unfamiliar opposite sex faces in naturalistic settings

Michael Lyvers*, Emma Cholakians, Megan Puorro, Shanti Sundram

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


The popular notion that alcohol intoxication enhances perceptions of the physical attractiveness of the opposite sex has been inconsistently supported. The current study tested intoxicated and non-intoxicated persons of both genders in naturalistic settings after measuring their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) by a breath test. A sample of 80 heterosexual university student social drinkers was recruited at a campus pub and campus parties over a 3-month period to take a survey rating the attractiveness of unfamiliar faces of the opposite gender presented in photographs. Attractiveness ratings were positively correlated with BAC. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted on attractiveness ratings with independent variables of gender and BAC group, with three levels of the latter: non-intoxicated (BAC = 0), moderately intoxicated (BAC.01%-.09%), and highly intoxicated (BAC.10%-.19%). Both intoxicated groups gave significantly higher attractiveness ratings than non-intoxicated controls. The findings confirm the beer goggles phenomenon of folk psychology for both genders, although the mechanism remains unclear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


Cite this