One or two glasses of wine can make the drinker look more attractive to others, a new study finds.
Three or four glasses, though, does not make a person look more attractive than when they are sober.
This is different to the ‘beer goggles’ effect, which is well known: that alcohol makes other people look more attractive.
This is the first study to show that it works both ways, as the authors explain:
“The present study suggests that alcohol consumption increases ratings of attractiveness of the consumer by other people.
That is, in addition to perceiving others as more attractive, an alcohol consumer may also be perceived by others as more attractive, and therefore receive greater sexual interest from potential mates.” (Abbeele et al., 2015).
How to look more attractive
In the study, volunteers were photographed sober, or after 250ml of wine (one-third of a bottle), or after 500ml (two-thirds of a bottle).
Participants viewed the images and rated them for attractiveness.
Volunteers who had drunk 250ml of wine were rated more attractive than either those who were sober or who had drunk 500ml.
The study’s authors think that…
“…the change in attractiveness is presumably driven by changing appearance following alcohol consumption.
One possible mechanism is vasodilation associated with alcohol consumption, which may lead to an increase of skin blood perfusion in the skin and an increase in red colouration, which in turn is known to be perceived as healthy and attractive.
In a sense, the action of alcohol on colouration may ‘hijack’ mechanisms designed to promote attraction to healthy mates.”
People who had had almost a bottle of wine, though, did not look more attractive.
So, perhaps a glass or two has the most noticeable flushing effect on the face.
“Another possibility is facial expression; low doses of alcohol may lead to an increase in positive mood that is apparent in subtle smiles and relaxation of tonic muscle tone.”
The study is published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.
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:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Drinking wine image from Shutterstock
Psychological benefits of alcohol
→ This post is part of a series on the psychological benefits of alcohol:
- The Type of Alcohol Linked To Better Cognitive Function
- The Number of Alcoholic Drinks That Makes You Look More Attractive
- This Much Alcohol Reduces Alzheimer’s Risk
- Depression Risk Can Be Reduced By This Very Pleasurable Method
- Light To Moderate Alcohol Intake Linked To Better Memory In Later Years
- The Celebratory Drink That Could Improve Memory