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The Science Behind Beer Goggles

The Science Behind Beer Goggles

As an addiction treatment center in Stuart, we understand the many side effects of drinking alcohol, one of them being beer goggles.

Most of us are familiar with this term. The beer goggles effect is often thought of in a comedic light. From sitcoms to uncomfortably vulnerable chats with friends, beer goggles are usually a funny topic. Many people consider this side effect of heavy drinking a joke, but it could indicate a more serious issue. We’re exploring the science behind beer goggles and how this term came to be. 

What are Beer Goggles? 

Beer goggles is a term that describes flirtatious behavior as a result of drinking alcohol. Drinking alcohol can lower inhibitions and provide warm, friendly, and relaxed sensations. These sensations are associated with increased socializing, which can lead to more flirting. Beer goggles are usually the topic of jokes because they can make a person who you’d otherwise think to be unattractive very attractive. Alcohol can cause a lot of side effects, including lowered inhibitions. This is the predominant symptom of beer goggles. A decreased sense of judgment may lead to casual flirting for some people but, for others, could lead to going home with someone they usually wouldn’t. 

Even though the beer goggles effect is often laughed at, it can actually lead to serious problems. Drinking alcohol does affect your ability to make sound decisions and defend yourself. For many people, beer goggles have led to many dangerous and unwanted experiences with strangers. This side effect of alcohol is just an example of what heavy drinking can lead to. If you’re struggling with heavy drinking or find yourself blacking out frequently or experiencing withdrawals, you may have an addiction. Banyan Treatment Centers Stuart offers alcohol detox in Florida that helps drain alcohol from the system and includes medical assistance for withdrawal symptoms.  

What’s the Science Behind Beer Goggles? 

While this effect of drinking is often shown in different comedies, there’s actually scientific evidence to back up this odd phenomenon. One 2014 study published in the Alcohol and Alcoholism journal showed that beer goggles could influence the perceived attractiveness of animate and inanimate objects. The study was composed of 103 men and women who were directed to drink either alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages. When shown pictures of people and landscapes, the alcohol drinking group thought that both the faces and the landscapes were more attractive than those that did not consume alcohol.1  

But get this, beer goggles aren’t limited to people. Another study conducted in 2008 by Pennsylvania State University conducted a study to see the effects of alcohol on Drosophila, otherwise known as flies. They found that male flies, who usually only mated with females, also attempted to mate with male flies while under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol was also shown to affect male flies’ sexual behavior towards females, enhancing sexual arousal but not sexual performance.2 In other words, alcohol lowered inhibitions and increased their sex drive but didn’t aid them in their sexual performance. Simply put, even flies put on beer goggles after consuming alcohol.  

Alcohol can also affect our ability to perceive asymmetry and affect our brain’s reward system. A study found that alcohol can reduce a person’s ability to recognize symmetry, which could explain why a person who’s intoxicated may fail to recognize someone’s crooked nose or lopsided smile. Researchers have also found that alcohol causes the brain to release dopamine, which produces feelings of euphoria and pleasure. While this chemical is naturally released by the brain when we do things to enjoy, alcohol kick starts this progress. Drinking alcohol might lead us to find pleasurable activities, even if we normally wouldn’t when sober.  

Although beer goggles may seem funny, they could lead to irresponsible behavior and poor decisions. Unprotected sex and other risky behavior often occur as a result of heavy drinking, which can lead to problems ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to sexual assault. Frequently experiencing beer goggles or other side effects like blackouts and hangovers are signs of alcohol addiction.  

If you or someone you know struggles with a drinking problem, do not wait to get help. Banyan Detox Stuart offers alcohol addiction treatment among a variety of other rehab programs. Call us now at 888-280-4763 for more information about our intensive inpatient program in Stuart, Florida.  


  1. NIH – The moderating effect of stimulus attractiveness on the effect of alcohol consumption on attractiveness ratings 
  1. NIH – Recurring ethanol exposure induces disinhibited courtship in Drosophila 

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Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
The Science Behind Beer Goggles
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