Drinking beer could help people read emotions, study says

Posted at 10:01 AM, Sep 23, 2016

A new study suggests there might be one benefit to drinking beer. 

Drinking alcohol causes a decrease in motor skills, coordination and alertness that make driving while impaired dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns of long-term negative impacts for those who drink too much.  

But LiveScience reported on a study that alcohol could help people recognize certain emotions. 

The study observed 60 people ages 18 to 50 that drank either regular beer with alcohol or nonalcoholic beer during a 15-minute time frame. Subjects drank about 17 ounces of beer. The purpose was to get those drinking beer with alcohol to feel the impacts without being too drunk to be studied. The study featured 30 men and 30 women. 

Those tested did not know if they were consuming alcohol. Researchers started studying the subjects about 30 minutes after the beer was consumed, according to LiveScience.

Participants were shown photos of people with different representing different emotions. Those who drank alcohol performed better at connecting emotions with faces, according to the study published in Psychopharmacology.

According to the study, those who drank alcohol also wanted to be with others in a happy situation. The impacts were greater in women than men. 

“The effect of many medications and substances of abuse have been tested on various tests of emotion processing and social cognition," lead researcher Matthias Liechti said, according to Psychopharmacology. "However, although, many people drink beer and know its effects through personal experience there is surprisingly little scientific data on its effects on the processing of emotional social information.

"We found that drinking a glass of beer helps people see happy faces faster, and enhances concern for positive emotional situations. Alcohol also facilitates the viewing of sexual images, consistent with disinhibition, but it does not actually enhance sexual arousal. These effects of alcohol on social cognition likely enhance sociability."