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Addiction. 2003 Aug;98(8):1069-75.

Alcohol consumption increases attractiveness ratings of opposite-sex faces: a possible third route to risky sex.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. barry@psy.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

AIMS:

To measure the effect of moderate alcohol consumption on males' and females' attractiveness ratings of unfamiliar male and female faces.

PARTICIPANTS:

Eighty undergraduate volunteers were used in each of three experiments.

DESIGN:

Participants' ratings on a 1-7 scale was the dependent variable. A three-factor mixed design was used. For experiments 1 and 2: one within-factor, sex-of-face to be rated (male/female); two between-factors, sex-of-rater (male/female) and alcohol status of rater (0 UK units/1-6 UK units). For experiment 3, the two levels of sex-of-face were replaced by two levels of a non-face object. In experiment 1, the faces were rated for attractiveness; in experiment 2, the faces were rated for distinctiveness and in experiment 3, the non-face objects were rated for attractiveness.

SETTING:

Quiet, prepared corners of bars and licensed eating areas on a civic university campus.

METHOD:

For each experiment, 118 full-colour photographic images were presented randomly on a laptop computer screen, each remaining until a rating response was made.

FINDINGS:

There was a significant alcohol consumption enhancement effect only for attractiveness ratings of opposite-sex faces in experiment 1. This indicates that the opposite-sex enhancement effect is not due simply to alcohol consumption causing the use of higher points of ratings scales, in general.

CONCLUSION:

Since Agocha & Cooper have shown that the likelihood of intentions to engage in risky sex increases as the facial attractiveness of the potential sexual partner increases, through the opposite-sex enhancement effect we identify a new possible link between risky sex and alcohol consumption.

PMID:
12873241
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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