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Beliefs about alcohol predict binge drinking

With changes proposed to the licensing laws in the UK there’s been lots of talk about binge drinking. The suggestion is that opening the pubs and bars at all hours will encourage binge drinking.

This is the same as saying that increasing the number of gyms will make us more healthy, or lowering the price of sofas will make us more lazy, or paying lawyers the same as binmen will decrease their number and make us less litigious and argumentative.

The answer to all these: it might but it won’t necessarily.

Research carried out on students into binge drinking – and after all these guys are professionals – suggests that it has much more to do with our expectations for drinking. The student’s belief that it made them more attractive, socially inviting and articulate, was directly predicting how much they drank.

Remember, reality is often not as important as our beliefs in affecting our behaviour.

> The abstract from the Journal of Addictive Behaviours

About the author

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.

He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:

Dr Dean’s bio, Twitter, Facebook and how to contact him.

> You can check whether you’re a binge drinker on the BBC site

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