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Tags: moderate | alcohol | social

Alcohol Hikes Positive Social Interactions

Tuesday, 03 July 2012 01:36 PM EDT

Maybe it’s time to retire the image of the rowdy, beer-drinking crowd depicted in movies like “Animal House”? New research by the University of Pittsburgh reveals moderate doses of alcohol – consumed in a social setting – actually enhance “positive emotions” and “social bonding” among drinkers.
And it’s not just the guys who benefit, according to the findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Alcohol has a powerful effect on both male and female social drinkers when they are in a group, the researchers found.
The notion that drinking can lead to negative thinking and aggressive anti-social behavior has largely been based on studies examining the alcohol’s impacts on people who drink in isolation rather than in groups, said lead researcher Michael A. Sayette, a professor of psychology in Pitt's Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.
"Those studies may have failed to create realistic conditions for studying this highly social drug," he said. "We felt that many of the most significant effects of alcohol would more likely be revealed in an experiment using a social setting."
For the new study, Sayette and his colleagues assembled various small groups using 720 male and female participants, and studied their interactions as they drank. They found alcohol stimulates social bonding, increases the amount of time people spend talking to one another, and reduces displays of negative emotions.
Based on the study’s findings, Sayette said: “We can begin to ask questions of great interest to alcohol researchers: Why does alcohol make us feel better in group settings? Is there evidence to suggest a particular participant may be vulnerable to developing a problem with alcohol?"
The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

© HealthDay

Moderate doses of alcohol enhance 'positive emotions' and 'social bonding' among drinkers.
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 01:36 PM
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