Don’t drink alcohol … in fact, don’t even look at it

Beerbottlesgetty_images_1Turns out just hanging out near alcohol—or even looking at pictures of itwithout pounding beers makes people hostile, according to a new survey of 246 undergrads conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia. In one experiment, a group of subjects studied six alcohol-related ads, and another group studied six neutral ads. After rating the ads, the students read a paragraph about a person engaging in a series of "ambiguously hostile" activities, like refusing to pay rent until his apartment was repainted. (Sounds fair to me.) The group then evaluated the person on six positive traits (like dependability) and six negative traits (such as hostility). Participants who were exposed to the alcohol-related executions rated the person as more hostile than those who had viewed the neutral ads. "These findings suggest that the mere sight of alcohol brings aggression-related thoughts to mind, which can have a specific influence on perceptions of hostility," said Bruce Bartholow, assistant professor of psychology at the university, in a statement. "Researchers and the general public have long known of a link between drinking alcohol and increased aggression. These studies indicate that this link does not depend on alcohol being consumed or even on the belief that alcohol has been consumed." Frightening.

—Posted by Lisa van der Pool

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