Drunk alter egos are a foe many drinkers claim to have come face-to-face with, but although you may think that alcohol has the ability to drastically change your personality, a new study suggests that this shift is far more subtle. Research published online in Clinical Psychological Science has found significant differences between what individuals report and what those around them report, when it comes to personality changes caused by intoxication.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri, found that although drinkers may describe a huge difference between their sober and drunk personality, in reality those around them describe the two are being quite similar.

"We were surprised to find such a discrepancy between drinkers' perceptions of their own alcohol-induced personalities and how observers perceived them," explained study researcher Rachel Winograd in a recent statement."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."

Read: What Is Dual Drunk Personality Disorder? 4 Personalities You Can Become During A Blackout From Alcohol

For the research, the team had 156 volunteers complete a survey to describe their typical alcohol consumption and their perceptions of both their “drunk” and “sober” personalities. Then, the researchers got the volunteers drunk enough to raise their blood alcohol level to about .09 (0.08 is the legal limit to drive a car). Once drunk, the researchers had the volunteers complete a number of tasks, games, and activities in order to bring out their personalities, while a group of outside observers rated their personalities for traits such as conscientiousness and openness to experience.

Results revealed that although the volunteers reported large differences in their “drunk” and “sober” persona for traits such as conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, levels of extraversion and emotional stability, the onlookers reported these differences as being fewer and less drastic. In fact, the only categories of the personality that were noted to change drastically with infoxication were gregariousness (socialness), assertiveness, and levels of activity.

The results, though interesting, may not be entirely accurate as drunk “you” is likely to act differently at a party or a bar as opposed to in a laboratory. However, the findings could have important applications for use in alcohol intervention treatments. For example, according to Winograd in a statement, this information could be used to help reduce the negative impact of alcohol on people’s lives.

Psychologists agree that, for the most part, drunk individuals can be categorized into four personalities. According to one study, these personalities include: The Hemingways, whose personality doesn't change at all regardless of how much they drink, the Mary Poppins, who become nicer and more responsible as they drink, the Mr.Hyde, who become less responsible, less intellectual and more hostile when drunk, and the Nutty Professor, who becomes more confident and extroverted.

Source: Winograd RP, Steinley D, Lane SP, Sher KJ.An Experimental Investigation of Drunk Personality Using Self and Observer Reports. Clinical Psychological Science . 2017

See Also:

Hemingway, Mary Poppins, Nutty Professor, Mr Hydes: The 4 Different Kinds of Drunks, According To Science

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