Bonding over booze during guys' night out is a ritual that seems to have some scientific value, especially when men are in a bad mood. While a night out is all about boys, beer and more booze, researchers found that getting wasted together allows men to connect in a way that other beverages can't.
Published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, the study suggests that alcohol acts as social lubricant for men. Drinking with the boys allows men to be more sensitive to social behaviors like smiling.
Researchers divided 720 "social drinkers" into three groups. The groups consisted of equal numbers of healthy men and women ages 21 to 28; they were given either a vodka cranberry drink or a non-alcoholic placebo drink. The researchers found that smiles are contagious when men bond with booze. The social behavior is linked to an increase of positive mood and social bonding.
"Many men report that the majority of their social support and social bonding time occurs within the context of alcohol consumption," says lead researcher Catharine Fairbairn. "We wanted to explore the possibility that social alcohol consumption was more rewarding to men than to women -- the idea that alcohol might actually 'lubricate' social interaction to a greater extent among men."
The study found that smiles are not contagious among sober men, but are with sober women. Interestingly enough, men don't grin contagiously when a woman enters the scene.
Now men have another reason to spend some quality time with the boys.