Alcohol Can Lead to Bad Decisions

But you already knew that.

If you’ve ever wondered why the guy you woke up next to in bed looked so much better in the bar last night, science to the rescue! Researchers at London’s Roehampton University say it’s all in the symmetry—and in alcohol’s alterations of our perceptions of such when it comes to faces.

The researchers ran a study in which subjects were presented with a series of photos of pairs of faces, with each pair followed by repeated photos of another face—one that wasn’t part of any of the pairs. They were asked to judge which of the pair they found more attractive, and then how symmetrical the repeated face was. The subjects performed the test both sober and while intoxicated. And guess what? Sober subjects were better able to judge facial symmetry and showed a greater preference for such symmetry, which prior research has shown plays a large role in how we judge attractiveness.

“This,” the researchers say coyly, “may help to explain increased frequencies of sexual encounters during periods of alcoholic intoxication.” Well, that and the buzz. Interesting note: Men were better than women at judging symmetry. Or maybe we’re just more forgiving?