Intoxication and its effect on the perception of beautyFeatured science projectScience project video

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
100
Time required:
1 hour for preparation, 1 day for experiment
Material availability:
Easily found - however, you will need to
Safety concerns:

Ensure that the participants are given a safe ride home. None of them should be permitted to drive. Ensure all consent forms are obtained prior to the experiment

Abstract

This science fair project was performed to find out how our perception of beauty can be affected by intoxication. The tests were done by asking participants to rate the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex in photos before and after getting intoxicated.

Hypothesis

The participants will rate the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex more highly after getting drunk.

Background

Beer goggles

After drinking alcohol, a person may experience what is known as “beer goggles”, where he or she suddenly finds others more attractive than they did before. A person may start out looking unattractive, but as the evening progresses, he or she may begin  to appear to be more attractive as the onlooker consumes more alcohol.

Normally, a sober person will be cautious and hesitate to approach a member of the opposite sex for fear of being rejected. However, as they consume more alcohol, their inhibition starts to disappear, together with their fear of being rejected. Suddenly, they become very sociable and the people around them start looking more attractive than they did before.

People’s ability to judge symmetrical and attractive faces becomes poorer after they become intoxicated. The more drunk they become, the less they seem to care about or even notice the minor defects in the faces that they are looking at.
 

Scientific Terms

Beer goggles, intoxication

Materials

The materials required for the science fair project:

-    100 photos of young men aged between 18 to 25 years old
-    100 photos of young women aged between 18 to 25 years old
-    40 bottles of beer
-    5 male participants (age 20 to 25)
-    5 female participants (age 20 to 25)

Procedure

1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is the number of bottles of beer drunk by the participants. The dependent variable is the "attractiveness rating" of the faces in the photos. This is determined by asking the participant to rate the attractiveness of the people in the photos when are sober and once more after becoming intoxicated. The constants (control variables) are the type of beer used and the photos, as well as the size of the photos.

2.    Give each of the 10 participants the same 100 photos showing faces of the opposite sex. The photos should have a mixture of attractive (rated 10) to not so attractive faces (rated 1). Ask them to rate each of the faces in the photos on a scale of 1 to 10. The unattractive faces will be rated 1 and the good looking faces 10. Select 4 faces in the photos that were rated only 1 or 2 by the participants and put them aside.

3.    The next day,  continue the experiment, this time, giving the participants bottles of beer to drink. After they have consumed each bottle of beer, show each participant a photo they had earlier rated as 1 or 2 (not so attractive) and request for them to rate the attractiveness again. Record the 4 "new" ratings given by the participants for the same photo in a table, as shown below.

Observation

The results show that both male and female participants found the photos of the opposite sex to be more attractive after becoming intoxicated with beer.

Beer bottles Attractiveness rating of the opposite sex (rating 1 to 10)
  Men 1 Men 2 Men 3 Men 4 Men 5 Women1 Women2 Women3 Women4 Women5
Sober 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 2
1 bottle 3 1 2 2 3 1 4 3 3 4
2 bottle 5 5 6 2 5 4 6 4 3 6
3 bottle 6 5 7 3 4 6 7 6 3 6
4 bottle 7 9 9 3 8 5 8 8 2 7

Conclusion

The hypothesis that the participants will find the less attractive faces in the photos to be more attractive after getting intoxicated has been proven to be true, based on the data collected. Whilst some participants held their liquor better than others, a general pattern surfaced - ie: that the more intoxicated the participants became, the more attractive the faces became.

Beer goggles is a condition that has landed many people in "hot soup", making them regret their actions eventually. Studies conducted on college students has shown that intoxicated students had a 10% higher chance of falling for less attractive members of the opposite sex compared to sober students.

 

Also consider

This  science fair project can also be done using participants of different age groups.
The experiment may be modified to test the effect of time on the "beer goggles" condition, by asking the participants to rate the photos once more 1, 2 and 3 hours after getting intoxicated.

Also, you could repeat the experiment with a larger number of participants in order to to ascertain of there is a difference in results between men and women.
 

References

What are beer goggles? - http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-beer-goggles.htm

Secret of the beer goggles uncovered - http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6018135.cms
 

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