Listening to alcohol related words leads to aggressive behavior in some people similar to the effect of drinking, a new study shows.
Lead researcher Dr. Eduardo Vasquez of the University of Kent in the UK and colleagues from United States, confirmed in two experiments that participants showed aggression after they were exposed to alcohol-related words - known as alcohol priming. This effect was seen in situations when they were provoked in a way that was vague or not obvious.
"These results provide another strong demonstration that exposing someone to alcohol-related words alone can influence social behavior in ways that are consistent with the effects of alcohol consumption," Vasquez, of Kent's School of Psychology, said in a press release.
"Our research also examined the parameters within which alcohol priming is likely to affect aggression. These effects seem to occur primarily when the provocation is not clear-cut and obvious, and are thus more open to interpretation. Under alcohol priming, the interpretation becomes more negative, and people become more aggressive," he added.
The researchers said that people attending events where alcohol is usually present do not have to drink to experience, or be subject to, the aggression-enhancing effects of alcohol, a fact that would seem to suggest caution in all such environments.
The findings were published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.