What’s your drunk personality? Pretty sure that you transform into the life of the party after a couple of spicy margaritas, and magically become the Amy Schumer of your friendship circle (read: hilarious)? We all have some idea about the “type” of drunk we think we are after downing a few drinks, but fresh research suggests all your preconceived ideas about alcohol altering your personality are possibly false.
Even though we might think alcohol flicks a figurative switch inside our brains that makes us comedic/aggressive/grouchy/insert your go-to adjective here, a study published in the journal of Clinical Psychological Sciences finds drinking doesn’t cause any such change.
A group of 156 participants were asked to complete a 50-question survey about how what they’re like when drunk. They had to answer questions about whether their drunk selves were “the life of the party,” or “make a mess of things,” among others. Then two weeks later, researchers basically got said participants tipsy and monitored them.
According to Newsweek, half of the group was given vodka mixed with Sprite (drunk in the laboratory, because science), while the other half stayed sober. As they drank, the group played games intended to trigger a host of different personality expressions, like competitiveness, bonding, and impulsiveness. They also self-reported about the mood changes they thought the alcohol was causing in them twice more.
The merry participants were monitored by both sober peers and the trainer researchers who made notes about how the alcohol seem to affect each participant. These results were then compared to the self-assessments.
This is where things get interesting: Mostly, the alcohol didn’t seem to dramatically change the personalities of individuals in the group. In people who had previously said alcohol changes their personality in some way—such as making them less anxious or more fussy or messy—researchers noticed almost no change. Actually the only noticeable difference was that some participants became more extroverted as they drank. Observers didn’t see any proof that alcohol makes people less neurotic or anxious, for example.
“Participants felt like they were really affected by alcohol whereas observers didn’t perceive such drastic changes,” says Rachel Winograd, a researcher on the study and clinical psychologist at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health.
Actually, there’s one other, slightly less surprising observation you could take away from the research: Drinking makes you hungry. Newsweek reports that all of the participants sobered up while devouring—wait for it—Hot Pockets.