Was it the Alcohol or was it the Party

What does drinking add to a party? Some common beliefs:

  • It makes you more outgoing
  • You loosen up, tell jokes better, and have a great time
  • Everyone's more attractive with "beer goggles" on
  • Without alcohol, you're boring, shy, and the party sucks

Researchers decided to see just how accurate these beliefs are. They took several groups of people who normally drink at parties, put them in a fake bar, and filmed them with hidden cameras. Each group was a little bit different.

  • Group one thought they were getting alcohol and got the beer they wanted
  • Group two thought they were getting alcohol and got "near beer" instead
  • Group three thought they were drinking "near beer" and got it
  • Group four thought they were getting "near beer" and got the real thing instead

The outcome? People who thought they were getting alcohol acted "buzzed", and people who thought they were drinking "near beer" acted bored—even when their belief was wrong.

Those who thought they were drinking alcohol acted more outgoing, told jokes, and had a great time even though some of them were drinking "near beer."

People who thought they were getting “near beer” were bored, sat in corners and moped, and thought the bar experiment sucked even though some of them got real beer.

What it means

  • Expectations alter what we experience
  • Alcohol didn't make things fun—people behaved "as if" they were drinking because they believed they were

You can still be your party animal self, even without the booze!