Here's What Really Happens to Your Personality When You Drink

Hallie Gould
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Urban Outfitters

We've all done things we wish we could erase—especially during a night where booze was in the mix. "I'm sorry, I was drunk," might as well have been the unofficial motto of my college university. But the idea that we transform into different people or have a different "drunk personality" is, according to research published in Clinical Psychological Science, not really a thing.

Researchers recruited 156 participants to fill out a survey about their usual consumption of alcohol and their perceptions of their own personalities when they're completely sober versus when they've been drinking. Then, they were observed while they drank (half drank Sprite, while others were given a personalized mix of vodka and Sprite based on their height and weight) and performed group activities.

"We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers' perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them," says Rachel Winograd a psychological scientist at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health. When it came down to it, the individuals themselves felt different and maintained their behavior completely changed after they had been drinking. However, the individuals they were interacting with didn't record much of a change at all.

"We believe both the participants and raters were both accurate and inaccurate—the raters reliably reported what was visible to them, and the participants experienced internal changes that were real to them but imperceptible to observers," Winograd explains. According to the results of the study, the only characteristic that was indicated by observers as a detectable change was extraversion.

So, yes, you're probably more likely to make friends with the other women in the bathroom line when you've been drinking or introduce yourself to someone you find attractive at the bar. But, for the most part, you are who you are—sober or not.

FYI: This is what happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol.

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