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Science: 

Wine can make you beautiful? Up to a point, says science

Of course, if you have the wine before you go out, you might not be able to tear yourself from the beautiful visage in the mirror.

Of course, if you have the wine before you go out, you might not be able to tear yourself from the beautiful visage in the mirror.

Beer goggles: a slightly unpleasant term explaining the phenomenon of people seeming more attractive after you’ve had a bit of alcohol. A good reason for not drinking, you may think, but bad news for tee-totalers: scientists have found that consuming a bit of alcohol actually makes you more attractive to others, even if they don’t touch the stuff.

Scientists at Bristol University’s Experimental Psychology school asked 40 heterosexual men and women to rate strangers who were photographed either sober or having had a drink. To mix things up a bit, the scientists varied the non-sober subjects with the equivalent of 250ml or 500ml of wine.

They found that the participants found the photograph of the 250ml individuals the most attractive, followed by the stone-cold sober types, with the 500ml individuals in last place.

Why? Well, scientists believe that this is down to the increased facial flushing that come with low amounts of alcohol in the system, often perceived as both attractive and healthy. On top of this, a little alcohol manifests itself in barely perceptible positive ways, such as relaxed muscles and subtle smiles. A second glass of wine, as many of us can attest to, often means that all subtlety goes out of the window. There’s such a thing as too relaxed and too smiley, trust us.

So, what does this tell us, and why is science interested? Well, researchers hope to use the findings of studies like these to fine-tune public health messages to be more effective: “Understanding the mechanisms through which alcohol influences social behavior, including factors that may impact on the likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behavior, is important if we are to develop evidence-based public health messages,” explained the paper’s conclusion.

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