Study: Alcohol lowers men’s restraint more than women’s

Mehgan Lee

Patrons at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill became more and more intoxicated Saturday night with every resounding chorus of “Cheers!” and dull thud of plastic cups crashing together.

With the heightened levels of intoxication came lowered inhibitions. Members of the crowd began belting out lyrics along with the music played, including Sir Mix-A-Lot’s, “Baby Got Back.” The dance floor became increasingly crowded and dancers’ moves became more risque, with sweaty bumping and grinding.

It is a well-established fact that drinking alcohol tends to lower people’s inhibitions. However, a recent study suggests alcohol consumption lowers men’s inhibitions more than women’s. Psychologists at the University of Kentucky conducted the study, which was published last month in the journal Addiction.

The study also found men tend to be more aggressive and report feeling more stimulated when drinking alcohol.

Cole Anderson, a history and advertising junior who works in security at Sally’s Saloon and Eatery, said he agrees with the conclusions of the study.

“(Men) lower their standards when they get hammered,” he said. “We just don’t care.”

Anderson said he has to kick men out of the bar for starting fights. However, he said, he kicks out women more often for being too intoxicated.

“They can’t handle their alcohol as much as guys can, even at the same alcohol level,” he said.

Nicole Butler, a marketing and business education junior who has worked at Sally’s as a waitress for a year and a half, said she also agrees with the study’s findings.

“We see fights here every night, and it’s 90 percent men,” she said. “I’ve never had to kick out a woman for hitting someone in the face.”

Butler described a group of men that came into the bar Saturday night.

“They came in and sat down at a table, and they just looked like the sweetest guys,” she said.

But after a few drinks, Butler said, the men were taking pictures of her on their cell phones and making degrading comments.

“It’s just annoying,” she said. “It’s disgusting. It’s blatant.”

But Abraham Opoti, a mechanical engineering and math senior, said he did not know if he agreed with the study.

“I think there’s a lot of factors that go into it,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people who use alcohol as an excuse,” Opoti said.

Mark Fillmore and Jessica Weafer, from the University of Kentucky, researched 12 men and 12 women with a mean age of 22 for their study. All volunteers were social drinkers.

The participants were given doses of alcohol. To account for the physical differences between men and women, doses were calculated based on body weight, and intoxication was measured by blood alcohol concentration levels.

The participants were then asked to play a computer game. They were instructed to press a button every time they saw a green rectangle – not a blue one – flash on their monitor’s screen, according to the journal. If participants pressed the blue rectangle instead of the green one, they were recorded as being more aggressive.

Maja Pranjic, a University of Minnesota senior, said she thought the study’s methods were inadequate.

“I don’t think it’s a good study,” Pranjic said. “It’s certainly interesting. Maybe it’s something (the researchers) should look into more.”

Pranjic said that she was skeptical because of the study’s sample size and she did not think the computer game could accurately measure how a person would actually behave while intoxicated.