Power and drinks at the women’s garden club

Professor Douglas Durand monitored the unconscious motivations of 37 women before and after they imbibed alcohol at a regular meeting of their garden club. Garden clubs are a traditional American social institution – small, frequent get-togethers to exchange gossip and the occasional gardening tip. The professor gathered data as to the women’s fantasies about power.

This happened in the mid 70s, when Durand was a faculty member at the University of Missouri-St Louis’s school of business administration. He is now dean emeritus.

Durand distilled his findings into a report called “Effects of Drinking on the Power and Affiliation Needs of Middle-Aged Females“, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.