Research Shows We Are Terrible at Estimating Our Drunkness Level

December 12, 2022
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© Samuel Regan-Asante / Unsplash

By surveying 2,100 revelers, the study found that the more intoxicated we are, the more we underestimate our alcohol blood level.

We are all too familiar with the scenario where despite our alcohol intoxication level, our friend’s call for another shot doesn’t sound like a screw-up. Now there is scientific reasoning behind it. New research shows that we might not be capable of estimating how boozed up we really are – especially when our blood alcohol level is high. 

The University of Queensland School of Psychology alongside Deakin University surveyed 2,100 party-goers across nightlife hotspots in Brisbane, Surfers Paradise, and Cairns.

By using breathalyzer devices, researchers analyzed the relationship between an individual’s estimated intoxication level and the actual blood alcohol content. 

Dominique De Andrade said that revelers who underestimated their drunkenness were significantly more intoxicated.

“We found people who underestimated their blood alcohol content were significantly more likely to have been recently removed from a licensed premises. Interestingly, those who were sober or slightly intoxicated were more likely to overestimate their blood alcohol content.”

According to De Andrade, the findings suggest that party-goers who consumed a large amount of drinks may have “vastly underestimated” their alcohol intoxication level. 

Statistics show that one in four Aussies consume more than four standard alcoholic drinks on a single occasion – a consumption rate that exceeds the Australian Adult Alcohol Guideline. 

Alcohol consumption is estimated to be a contributing factor in about 73% of all assaults, and 30% of car crashes that involve serious injury.


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