Friday, September 07, 2012

Alcohol and group formation.

Sayette et al. do what looks like a thorough piece of work, but I also have a "Duh...tell us something else we didn't already know" kind of reaction. This is why evidence of human grape fermentation is found very early in the archeological record, and probably extends beyond it.
We integrated research on emotion and on small groups to address a fundamental and enduring question facing alcohol researchers: What are the specific mechanisms that underlie the reinforcing effects of drinking? In one of the largest alcohol-administration studies yet conducted, we employed a novel group-formation paradigm to evaluate the socioemotional effects of alcohol. Seven hundred twenty social drinkers (360 male, 360 female) were assembled into groups of 3 unacquainted persons each and given a moderate dose of an alcoholic, placebo, or control beverage, which they consumed over 36 min. These groups’ social interactions were video recorded, and the duration and sequence of interaction partners’ facial and speech behaviors were systematically coded (e.g., using the Facial Action Coding System). Alcohol consumption enhanced individual- and group-level behaviors associated with positive affect, reduced individual-level behaviors associated with negative affect, and elevated self-reported bonding. Our results indicate that alcohol facilitates bonding during group formation. Assessing nonverbal responses in social contexts offers new directions for evaluating the effects of alcohol.

1 comment:

  1. Why did people in the past drink alcohol, aside from the obvious reasons:

    The alcohol probably made beers and wine safer to drink than (the dirty) water in antiquity and people don't like to be sick.

    In the U.S. in colonial times, people made (hard) apple cider because it could be sold, because it traveled to market much better than apples, and because a lot of the apples that they grew were rubbish.

    When I lived in Chile many years ago, I could and did by (very bad) wine for nine cents a liter. It was the cheapest source of calories, and there were a lot of hungry people.