Are you in the habit of wearing rose-coloured beer glasses ?

brain wearing rose coloured beer glassesAlcohol is really a two edged sword.

If you are by nature a little shy, a smidgen of alcohol is able to give you a boost of courage, turning you into a chatty, charming, happy go lucky, fun individual, people gravitate towards. But a smidgen too much, can leave you with big regrets, from compromised sexual situations, to broken bones and of course, one hell of a hangover.

This week’s Neurotechnology Tip will help you take off those rose coloured beer glasses, so you know exactly what you’re getting when you imbibe – the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Anti-drinking programmes love to hone in on all the negatives. The message, don’t do alcohol because……………..

But your friends say exactly the opposite, do alcohol, because ……………..

Both are right. And lots of people live both experiences every time they go out drinking.

Learning from past experiences

So if waking up in a gutter, with no idea how you got there and a headache from hell, happens. Why do people sign up to do it again ?

Researchers tried to answer this question by asking 500 college students about their drinking habits. The study was conducted on line and asked the participants about the consequences of their drinking sprees.

Participants were asked to document their “experiences” following alcohol consumption. The experiences included both positive and negative happenings.

The list of negative experiences was pretty long, it had 35 points and included

  • blackouts,
  • fights,
  • hangovers,
  •  missed classes and work, and
  •  lost or stolen belongings

The positive experiences was a much shorter list (14 items), it included :

  • better conversational and joke-telling abilities,
  •  improved sexual encounters and
  •  more energy to stay up late partying and dancing

Part B of the survey, asked the participants to predict the odds that they would experience the events on the lists, the next time they drank.

Rose coloured beer glasses

The over riding view was that drinking

  • WOULD DEFINITELY produce positive effects
  • It was highly UNLIKELY that they would experience the negative effects.

In a nutshell.

Alcohol troubles are “Not going to happen to me” because “I’ll never drink that much again”.

Yeh – right !

Fantasy land thinking

In short, the brain is playing tricks or maybe it is the alcohol playing tricks. Haha. The official name for the trick is “cognitive-dissonance reasoning”.

The more you drink, the more likely you are too experience negative consequences and the WORSE the consequences are likely to be. This is reality !

It all boils down to the amount you drink. And it will be way worse if you mix it up with a hefty dose of caffeine.

Don’t drink too much

For most of you, drinking is something you’re going to do – hopefully it is only every now and again not ALL the time.

But when you do drink, take off those rose coloured glasses. The positives only happen when you keep the amount of alcohol you’re drinking low. If you drink more, YOU WILL CROSS THE LINE and enter negative consequences territory.

Drink wisely !

PS. If you overdo it, you may benefit from a little batty hangover advice !

Rose-colored beer goggles: The relation between experiencing alcohol consequences and perceived likelihood and valence. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (2011)  Diane E. Logan, Teague Henry, Matthew Vaughn, Jeremy W. Luk, Kevin M. King.

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Further reading

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Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below

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