Psychologists have claimed that simply hearing
alcoholic terms such as “vodka”, “wine” and “whisky” can incite
aggression in sober people, following a recent study.
Experiments carried out by psychologists at the University of Kent in
the UK, California State University, and the University of Missouri in
the US, found that American undergraduate students, when exposed to
alcoholic terms, reacted more aggressively in comparison to those
exposed to terms such as “juice” and “milk”.
In one of the experiments one group of participants were exposed to
alcoholic terms such as “whisky and wine” before receiving feedback on
an essay they had written, while another group was primed with terms
such as “milk”, “water” and “juice”.
The first group was found to respond with greater hostility on
receiving feedback, but only when the provocation could not be clearly
interpreted as an insult, compared to the second group.
Dr Vasquez, of Kent’s School of Psychology and co-author of the
study, said: “These results provide another strong demonstration that
exposing someone to alcohol-related words alone can influence social
behaviour in ways that are consistent with the effects of alcohol
“We’ve shown that people attending events where alcohol is typically
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 study, entitled “Are You Insulting Me? Exposure to Alcohol Primes
Increases Aggression Following Ambiguous Provocation”, is published in
Personality and Social Bulletin.