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Scientists Observe Confirmed Case of “Social Drinking”

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh announce they’ve discovered that drinking in a social setting can increase people’s positive emotions, and help those people bond. According to the researchers, earlier studies purporting to examine this topic looked at so-called “social drinkers” when they drank alone; this study actually put social drinkers in a social setting, and found evidence supporting what many have long suspected.

Jeffrey Cohn

Alcohol and group formation: A multimodal investigation of the effects of alcohol on emotion and social bonding,” Michael Sayette, Creswell, K. G., Dimoff, J. D., Catharine Fairbairn, Jeffrey Cohn (pictured), Heckman, B. W., et al., Psychological Science (In press). The researchers write:

“Seven-hundred-twenty social drinkers (half female) were assembled into three-person unacquainted groups, and given a moderate dose of alcohol, placebo, or nonalcohol (control) beverage, which they consumed over 36-min. […] Alcohol consumption enhanced social experience at both individual- and group-levels (e.g., coordination of smiling, speech behaviors), and elevated self-reported bonding. Results indicate alcohol facilitates bonding during group formation.”


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