While a lot of people claim they turn into someone they are not when they get drunk, that might not be the case. Sure, we might feel like alcohol has the power to change us but apparently, all it does is highlight who we are.
I recently came across a study from back in 2017 that suggests booze doesn’t have as much power as we think it does. For this study, researchers set out to figure out just how different our drunk personalities were from our real personalities and if they were a ‘thing’ or not. Surprisingly these researchers found that there isn’t much difference between those who are sober and those who are drunk in regards to how they act for the most part.
While it did make the participants more extroverted to an extent that was the only real difference. They didn’t turn into completely new people and their core traits were intact overall. Sure, they felt different, but they weren’t being different, not really.
For this study, the team of researchers involved quizzed 156 volunteers before having them consume alcohol. They were asked about their perception of their sober selves and their drunk selves and then put to the test. These people might be a little more assertive when drunk, but they didn’t turn out to be ‘completely different people’ like they had expected themselves to be.
“We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them,”
“Participants reported experiencing differences in all factors of the Five-Factor Model of personality, but extraversion was the only factor robustly perceived to be different across participants in alcohol and sober conditions.”
“Of course, we also would love to see these findings replicated outside of the lab – in bars, at parties, and in homes where people actually do their drinkings.”
“Most importantly, we need to see how this work is most relevant in the clinical realm and can be effectively included in interventions to help reduce any negative impact of alcohol on peoples’ lives.”
While of course, more research needs to be done on the topic, this does bring some things to light most people don’t stop to consider. Just because we feel like we’re becoming someone else doesn’t mean we actually are. This does also highlight the effects of alcohol as it really does mess with our minds, it can actually make us believe we’re not acting like ourselves even though we all in all actually might be.
Across various cultures, there are robust stereotypes regarding how alcohol intoxication alters individuals’ normative personalities. However, whether these stereotypes are rooted in genuine average effects or in salient, socially proliferated exemplars remains unclear. The current study tested if differences between sober and intoxicated personality expression can be observed reliably by trained raters during a drinking episode. Participants (N = 156), half of whom received alcohol, attended laboratory sessions in same-gender friend groups and engaged in activities designed to elicit a range of personality expression. Participants completed self-reports of their “typical” sober and drunk personalities 2 weeks prior to their sessions and via two short measures during the session. In addition, participants were recorded and rated by multiple (range = 5–17) trained raters using three personality measures. Self-perceptions of sober-to-drunk personality differences were more pervasive than observer-perceptions, but alcohol-induced changes in Extraversion, specifically, were robust across measures and reporters.
What do you think about all of this? Do you agree with these findings? Is your drunk self the same as your sober self within reason?