The “Faux-Beer” Effect
- Written by Staff
- June 6, 2012
Hypothesis: Drinking fake beer will have subjects pretend to be drunken idiots.
Growing up in New York, I’ve become accustomed to seeing beer sold basically wherever food can also be purchased. For example, supermarkets, 7-11-type convenience stores, gas stations, even drug stores, sell alcoholic beverages. Upon my arrival at the University of Delaware, I was initially surprised at the strict liquor purchasing laws and the lack of brews lining grocery store shelves. However,one type of “beer” that is present is “O’douls”, along with other brands of the non-alcoholic variety. Out of sheer curiosity and as a result of perhaps a little too much time on my hands, I set out this summer to test whether or not the average college student would realize if they were drinking non-alcoholic beer as opposed to the real deal. How would they act during the experiment? What would be their reaction when they learned the truth? I was more than willing to risk some insults, so I bought 60 of the substitute beverages and waited for the best opportunity to strike.
Procedure: Throw party, select unfortunate test subjects, exploit them shamelessly for sake of experiment.
Finally, one weekend in early August, my sister and I decided to have a small party at our house and watch as four of our unsuspecting friends were duped by our slightly heartless trick. We had previously selected two boys and two girls, all over the age of 21, who attend self-proclaimed “party schools.” Knowing this background information, we figured that they should be pretty well acquainted with beer. We let another one of our friends in on the joke, the one who was playing bartender, to keep count of their consumption and to ensure that these poor schlubs drank nothing but the “fake” beers.
Data: Unfortunately, a stain upon the female sex.
After consuming about 12 of these concoctions each, the male test subjects began to suspect that something was terribly wrong. They should be feeling at least buzzed by now, and they were pretty mad that they didn’t. Why did they feel so full of beer and yet so devoid of its beloved effects? It’s a college bro’s worst nightmare. One of them eventually approached my sister and she told them of the prank, only after ensuring they would not alert the girls. The evidence would suggest that not only are men perceptive of beer’s taste, they are honest about its effect on them. Boys will more willingly admit that they are not drunk, and don’t fake it just to fit in with the rest of the partyers. The same, sadly, cannot be said of the women.
By about the 10th “beer”, the female subjects were dancing like fools, slurring their words, and appeared, to all who were unaware of the experiment, shitfaced. As the night drew to a close, we took them aside and explained to them that they had in fact drank more non-alcoholic beer than any known person to date, therefore their actions were totally an act. As you can imagine, they were pretty pissed off and embarrassed. (“I thought we were friendsssssss!!?!?!) But by the next morning, they told everyone about the joke laughed about how stupid they must have been. They still probably won’t come to my next party.
Results: Boys rule, girls drool? Not really, but kind of.
Based on our experiment, it would seem that girls are much more concerned with blending in with the mood of the party (SHOCKER), even if that means completely faking intoxication. How many times have girls been seen dumping out cups when they don’t want to drink anymore and are too embarrassed to say so? Bringing a cup into the bathroom with you alone is a signature move.
It could also be theorized that there is a sort of placebo effect at work, making the drinker believe they are getting drunk just because that is what they assume the drink is meant to do. It works with medicine, so why not with non-alcoholic beer? One of the girls even said that she could tell she wasn’t being affected normally by the drinks, but just assumed that her tolerance had gone up, or it was because she had eaten a lot that day. Whatever the case, the girls lost in this game of dignity.
The moral of this experiment is simple: The next time you’re at a party and you have had beer after beer and feel nothing but absurdly full, you should probably confront your host. Otherwise, you will wind up embarrassed and cursing at your friends. And who wants that when they can’t blame it on being drunk?