Glass of beer ‘makes peo­ple more so­cia­ble’

Malta Independent - - HEALTH -

Re­searchers from Switzer­land have con­firmed what most of us al­ready know - drink­ing a sin­gle glass of beer can make peo­ple more so­cia­ble.

The team from Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal in Basel tested 60 healthy peo­ple, with an equal num­ber of men and women drink­ing al­co­holic and non-al­co­holic beer.

They took part in a range of tasks, in­clud­ing a face recog­ni­tion test, em­pa­thy test and sex­ual arousal test.

The lead re­searcher said there had been lit­tle pre­vi­ous re­search in this area.

Prof Matthias Liechti ex­plained: “Al­though many peo­ple drink beer and know its ef­fects through per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence there is sur­pris­ingly lit­tle sci­en­tific data on its ef­fects on the pro­cess­ing of emo­tional so­cial in­for­ma­tion.”

The de­sire to be with oth­ers, in a happy, talk­a­tive and open en­vi­ron­ment in­creased in the group which drank the al­co­holic beer and was more marked in women and those with higher ini­tial in­hi­bi­tions.

As well as en­abling the par­tic­i­pants to recog­nise happy faces more quickly, the beer also en­hanced par­tic­i­pants’ emo­tional em­pa­thy, par­tic­u­larly in those with lower lev­els of ini­tial em­pa­thy.

Par­tic­i­pants were also shown pic­tures of ex­plicit sex­ual con­tent.

Af­ter drink­ing non-al­co­holic beer, par­tic­i­pants rated them as less pleas­ant than neu­tral pic­tures - but they were rated as more pleas­ant by those who drank al­co­holic beer. This was most marked in the women par­tic­i­pants, but re­searches found it did not ac­tu­ally en­hance sex­ual arousal.

Ear­lier this year, the UK gov­ern­ment re­vised the UK guide­lines on drink­ing al­co­hol.

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