Men under the influence of alcohol are more interested in checking out the body parts of women they perceived as unfriendly or unintelligent, finds a new study.
“Intoxicated men in the study were less likely to objectify women they perceived as warm and competent and those who were of average attractiveness,” said the lead author of the study Abbey Riemer, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US.
The researchers conducted a study with a group of college going men between 21 to 27 years of age to get insights into how to prevent the sexually aggressive behaviour, particularly in situations where alcohol is being used.
The study tested how “alcohol myopia” — a theory that intoxication limits the number of information people can process, narrowing their perceptions to the most provoking stimuli — interrelates with sexual objectification.
Few participants were randomly assigned to drink a mixture of orange juice and grain alcohol until they reached legal intoxication levels.
Other participants were given drinks that smelled and tasted of alcohol but contained a trivial amount of liquor.
The researchers also used eye-tracking equipment to measure whether participants looked at faces, chests or waists as they viewed photographs of 80 college-age women dressed to go out to a party or a bar.
The photos previously had been screened by more than 300 men and women who rated the images based on whether the women appeared attractive, warm or competent. Each image was categorised by high, average and low levels of each attribute.
The study, published in the journal Sex Role, found evidence that men were more likely to look at women as sexual objects after drinking.
“When women don’t appear friendly, intoxicated men will spend less time looking at their faces and more time looking at their sexual body parts,” said study co-author Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.