Do you feel shy at a social gathering? Take heart, you only need a glass of beer to talk, socialise and connect with people, a study has found.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University Hospital in Basel in Switzerland, found that individuals who drank alcoholic beer showed an increased desire to be with others, in a happy, talkative and open environment.
In the study, participants who drank alcoholic beer were able to recognise happy faces more quickly.
Further, the alcoholic beer also enhanced participants' emotional empathy, particularly in those with lower levels of initial empathy.
"Although many people drink beer and know its effects through personal experience there is surprisingly little scientific data on its effects on the processing of emotional social information," BBC quoted lead researcher Matthias Liechti, Professor at the University Hospital in Basel in Switzerland as saying.
In addition, drinking alcoholic beer made it easier for participants to view explicit sexual images, and the effect was greater for women than for men.
However, it did not actually enhance sexual arousal.
On the other hand, participants who drank non-alcoholic beer, rated the images as less pleasant than neutral pictures.
The sex differences in the findings can either be explained by differences in blood alcohol concentration between males and females with the same alcohol intake, differences in tolerance due to differences in previous levels of alcohol consumption or by socio-cultural factors, the researchers said.
For the study, the team tested 60 healthy persons, with an equal number of men and women drinking alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer.
They took part in a range of tasks, including a face recognition test, empathy test and sexual arousal test.
"This is an interesting study confirming conventional wisdom that alcohol is a social lubricant and that moderate use of alcohol makes people happier, more social and less inhibited when it comes to sexual engagement," Wim van den Brink, Professor at the University of Amsterdam, said in a comment.
The findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.