There is a high chance that you know that after you consume two bottles of alcohol, you start acting like a jerk but you most likely dont know why.
According to researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia, there is a high possibility that it will take only two bottles of alcoholic drinks to inhibit the proper functioning of your prefrontal cortex, the region of your brain that regulates things like decision-making and social behaviour. That area also generally keeps you from lashing out at your perfectly innocent friends.
The reaearchers employed the use of magnetic resonance imaging scans which is commonly known as MRI to test the link between alcohol consumption and aggressiveness. They also used it to measure changes in the way blood flows through a human brain when that human has had some alcohol.
To conduct their study, the reseatchers recruited 50 young, healthy men and gave them either two vodka-based drinks or a placebo. The men were then instructed to complete a competitive task against a computer designed to test their aggressive tendencies. They also switched things up by making their “opponent” deliberately provoke them.
The interesting part of the study was that provocation didn’t affect the subjects’ MRI readings whether they’d received the placebo or the drinks.
However, when the men chose to act aggressively, the MRIs of the guys who had been drinking showed a drop in activity of their prefrontal cortex, while the placebo group showed no such change.
The description of the research and the results of the study was published in the scientific journal Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.
The prefrontal cortex has long been believed to be responsible for drinking-induced aggression, perhaps because it is the brain’s command center, and is thought to be responsible for lots of things.
There has however not been much neuroimaging data — like MRI scans — to back such claims up and that is why studies like this are essentially important.
As the researchers noted in their paper, alcohol consumption is a factor in about half of all violent crimes. The more data like this that are available, the more fully we are able to understand the process by which drunk people become violent people.
When people are sober, they are able to inhibit their behaviour, but ehen they consume alcohol in large quantities, there’s that disinhibition of alcohol that affects their ability to control their actions.
The theories propounded by the research include patterns like alcohol myopia, which refers to the tunnel vision that can take hold of heavy drinkers and cause them to focus disproportionately on something that they might otherwise consider unimportant or inappropriate, like starting a fight.
However, despite the fact that alcohol is widely acknowledged to increase aggression, the relationship isn’t invariable. As such, it doesn’t necessarily mean that because you drink, you’re going to become aggressive.
Aggressiveness can depend on a lot of different factors within a person, and it could be biological as well as neurological. Other factors such as cultural and environmental can also have an effect. For instance, a lot of drunk people might still not be aggressive if they were in church, because there’s a strong cultural component that says they shouldn’t do that.