Do Societies Psychologically Change The Perceived Effects of Alcohol on an Individual?

Believe it or not, apparently so. Next time, just purchase non-alcoholic beer instead… according to this the end results will be the same (regardless of whether alcohol is included or not)!


“Alcohol expectations are beliefs that individuals hold about the effects they experience from drinking. They are largely beliefs about how the consumption of alcohol will affect a person’s emotions, abilities and behaviors. To the extent that alcohol expectancies can be changed, it may be possible to reduce a major social and health problem, that of alcohol abuse (Grattan & Vogel-Sprott).

… people in a society generally believe that intoxication leads to aggression, sexual behavior AKA "beer goggles", or rowdy behavior, they tend to act that way when intoxicated. If the society teaches that intoxication leads to relaxation and tranquil behavior, it virtually always leads to those outcomes. Alcohol expectations vary within a population so outcomes are not uniform (Alan Marlatt & D. J. Rosenow)

…Alcohol expectations can operate in the absence of actual consumption of alcohol. Research in the U.S. over a period of decades has shown that men tend to become physically more sexually aroused when they think they have been drinking alcohol, even when they haven't. Women report feeling more sexually aroused when they falsely believe the beverages they have been consuming contain alcohol, although a measure of their physiological arousal shows that they are physically becoming less aroused."

This reminds me of a story a friend told me back when I was younger. He was a player on a house league hockey team that had fought hard the entire season to earn their place in the championship game. The team ended up winning the championship game and as they made their way back to the locker room, they found a dozen bottles of champagne waiting for them. This was beyond the wildest dreams of the team of 10 and 11 year olds, who quickly ran to the bottles to celebrate in style. The kids chugged the stuff back, and before anyone could say "underage drinking ticket", the majority of the team was stuttering their words, unable to keep their balance and laughing their heads off. Of course, they had all drank non-alcoholic champagne (their coach was not that insane!), but they were all acting how they thought they were suppose to act. My only question is, had they have lost that game, would they have all become violent/emotional drunks instead?

Alcohol Expectations Wikipedia Page

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posted by mikeyarmo @ 1:48 PM,


At 12:09 AM, Blogger christinarosy said...

Alcohol abuse affects millions. This site has a lot of useful information.

Alcohol Abuse


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