“A man’s true character comes out when he’s drunk.” – Charlie Chaplin
Known as ‘liquid courage,’ alcohol is often credited for bringing out a different side of ourselves, a hidden ‘drunk self.’ This version of yourself may be louder, wilder, more outgoing or more emotional. If you have ever found yourself the next day looking back on your wild night and regretting your actions then you know what I’m talking about… That version of yourself that only comes out when you a handful of drinks in and leaving all responsibility at the door.
A recent study published in ‘Clinical Psychology Science’ reveals a somewhat startling idea – Your drunk self may actually be a reflection of the real you. Working with a group of 156 volunteer participants, the team including researchers out of Purdue University and the University of Missouri determined that a person, whether drunk or sober, acts incredibly similar.
The team asked all volunteers to complete a survey two weeks prior to the experiment describing traits that they associated with both their drunk and sober sides of their personality. They then split their volunteers up into groups of approximately 3-4 friends, asking them to drink enough to increase their blood alcohol level to approximately 90mg (legal limit is 80mg). While some of the participants were given vodka and Sprite, others were given just Sprite. Each of the volunteers was asked to complete a number of tasks designed to highlight various personality traits while a group of sober observers were looking on.
The participants believed that their personalities changed in all 5 categories, rating themselves lower in the areas of conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience, and higher in the areas of extraversion and emotional stability. The observers, however, stated that there were very few differences to note between both the drunk and sober personalities of the participants.
Rachel Winograd, a psychological scientist from the University of Missouri explained, “We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them. Participants reported experiencing differences in all factors of the Five Factor Model of personality, but extraversion was the only factor robustly perceived to be different across participants in alcohol and sober conditions.”
Ultimately, the study concluded that while a few drinks will likely make you louder or more outgoing, the rest is all you! That fun-loving and over the top version of yourself is really just your personality coming through. Embrace it.