According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are more likely than women to drink excessively, which comes with significant increases in risks to health and safety (as it often causes diseases such as liver cirrhosis and pancreatitis).
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, led by Catharine Fairbairn, asked: Is it possible that social alcohol consumption is more rewarding to men than to women? This question primarily focuses on the idea that alcohol may be a ‘social lubricator’ for social interaction in men—in fact, more so than women.
From the study, the results of their experiment revealed that alcohol significantly increased “smile contagion” amongst men, compared to the woman group. Smile contagion was described as infectious smiling between the participants who drank in a social setting while the researchers watched through video that captured their interaction. As the subjects socialized, their behaviors will observed closely while researchers recorded their movements, facial expressions, comfort level, and the creation of bonds and chemistry.
The team concluded that their findings suggest that drinking is brought upon by a need to be more socially brave, unconsciously interrupting processes that might normally stop men from responding to another person’s smile.
But that brings about another question: Why would men need to be socially brave? Can they not do that sober?
According the researchers, the need to belong and create social bonds is an essential and a useful human motive, which centers on having social motives for drinking excessively. Males however, were much more driven for that need than women, according to their friendly behavior during interaction.
The research ended with: “…social conceptualizations of ‘manliness’ are often at odds with male expressions of intimacy, warmth and closeness. It’s possible that the social limits we place on men push them toward drinking as a means of bonding with others (although the results of this study can’t speak to that directly…”
In other words, creating close relationships may come into conflict with a man’s view of their masculinity, hence, cracking open a beer or liquor bottle to take the edge off.
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