We've all been there. After a few drinks, you're up on the dance floor living like there is no tomorrow.
While in your day-to-day life you wouldn't dream of being so outgoing.
You may think that your drunken and sober personalities are akin to a Jekyll and Hyde situation; where alcohol unleashes a side of you that you didn't believe existed.
Indeed, some research has shown that there are definite characteristics that come dominate when you are drunk, but a separate study argues that these hidden traits are a part of your personality after all.
Research conducted by the University of Missouri, and published in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science, involved friends attempting to complete tasks while drinking vodka-laced Sprite.
Their performances during these tasks, which were held in lab conditions, were observed by strangers, who were also asked to view a group of sober people tackling the same problem.
Those viewing the activities were told to look out for five things in the participants: extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, openness and agreeableness
The observers noticed that the drunken group were more extroverted than the sober group and were less neurotic, but the latter's results were inconclusive.
However, in other areas such as conscientiousness, openness and agreeableness, no noticeable differences were discovered.
We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers’ perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them.
Participants reported experiencing differences in all factors of the Five Factor Model of personality, but extraversion was the only factor robustly perceived to be different across participants in alcohol and sober conditions.
Before drawing a definitive line under these findings it is worth pointing out that the participants had only consumed a standardized amount of alcohol are were not heavily intoxicated.
Also, the environment not being a bar or club may have altered the way they typically act.
Furthermore, those studying them had never met the individuals before and would have had no prior knowledge of what their personalities were like.
The researchers do concede that these caveats might have affected the results and are now keen to see how the experiment would turn out in different circumstances.
Rachel Winograd adds:
We believe both the participants and raters were both accurate and inaccurate — the raters reliably reported what was visible to them and the participants experienced internal changes that were real to them but imperceptible to observers.
Of course, we also would love to see these findings replicated outside of the lab — in bars, at parties, and in homes where people actually do their drinking.
Most importantly, we need to see how this work is most relevant in the clinical realm and can be effectively included in interventions to help reduce any negative impact of alcohol on peoples’ lives.