The Loh Down On Science

Bar Fights

Scientists studying the brains of intoxicated volunteers explain how alcohol can make you a lover AND a fighter.

Finally! Bar fights explained!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with "The Loh Down on Science"

begging a little sympathy for the beloved. . . Belligerent Drunk.

Take a little drinkie, and you're in love with the world. Take another, and fists start flying. That's alcohol's paradoxical double nature.

Now Jodi Gilman from the National Institutes of Health may have found the underlying cause.

Using functional MRI, Gilman scanned the brains of a dozen highly intoxicated volunteers as they viewed photos of people in various emotional states.

She found that alcohol impedes the brain's fear-recognition circuitry. But it turbocharges regions linking emotion to vision.

In other words, booze makes you respond EMOTIONALLY to a blank gaze--but dulls your perception of fear in others.

Ain't that great? Anxiety's all gone! You form attachments to strangers . . . oblivious to their horrified stares.

Which leads increased social risk-taking. Words. A black eye. And voila, you're a lover AND a fighter!

Thank goodness these test subjects got alcohol intravenously, in a private clinical setting.

With just a very tiny karaoke machine cordoned off with a sanitation strip. Very very tiny.


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