There’s a formula for the “beer goggles” effect.

Through a glass, darkly, originally uploaded by Laura Mary.

Back in January I posted a formula that had been developed to work out which day of the year was the most depressing. As it turns out that day also happened to be my birthday – January 22nd. I like the tongue in cheek, quirky nature of that academic endeavour and am pleased to have found another one to share –

Manchester University 2005. Scientists actually came up with a mathematical formula to calculate the extent of the “beer goggle” effect on a given individual in a given situation. Their reasoning for creating this formula is that alcohol is not really the only factor affecting the drunken perception of beauty. Other factors, according to their research, include: How brightly lit the area is, the observer’s eye-sight quality, the amount of smoke in the air and the distance of the observer from the observed.

The formula goes like this: β = (An)² x d(S + 1) ÷ √L x (Vo)² where: An is the number of servings of alcohol, S is the smokiness of the area on a scale of 0 – 10, L is the lighting level of the area, measured in candelas per square meter, in which 150 is normal room lightning, Vo is Snellen visual acuity, in which 6/6 is normal and 6/12 is the lower limit at which someone is able to drive and in which d is the distance between the observer and the observed, measured in meters.

The formula works out a “beer goggle” score ranging from 1 to 100+. When β = 1, the observer is perceiving the same degree of beauty he or she would perceive in a sober state. At 100+, everybody in the room is a perfect 10.

Howstuffworks “There’s a mathematical formula for the “beer goggles” effect?”

So if you have normal vision, on a night out after drinking a 8 pints in a not too smokey bar that’s about a third darker than a normally lit room you might find that when looking at a bit of a grimmer 5 feet away they appear to be nearly 58% more attractive than you’ll find them to be when you’ve sobered up the next day. Or perhaps you’ll just wish you never gave them your phone number. No sex bias mentioned so I presume it works both ways.

Looking back over the years I can think of a few instances of where time spent in smokey pubs and bars, wearing the beer goggles on the most depressing day of the year has resulted in unplanned for though perhaps predictable results. It’s totally unlikely of course that knowing about these two equations would though have had any influence on my behaviour. What’s new about that then I suppose would be a fair comment to make!

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