It Really IS Happy Hour, Study Finds

Article excerpt

They didn't exactly raise the bar on alcohol-related fact- finding.

University of Pittsburgh researchers recently released a study concluding that moderate amounts of booze, consumed while socializing, increase the likelihood of people feeling pleasant and bonding with others.

In short, the analysis concluded that drinking in a group is a more positive experience than drinking alone.

If those findings sound familiar, it's because they almost mirror those of generations of folks who conducted research and found that having cocktails with chums is fun. These individual investigations primarily were self-funded and did not rely, as did the Pitt analysis, on a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grant.

What's interesting about the Pitt study is not its stunningly obvious conclusions but the divergent path researchers took from the rest of society to arrive at them. They took a decidedly more clinical approach, in terms of:

- Study title

Pitt researchers: "Alcohol and Group Formation: A Multimodal Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol on Emotion and Social Bonding."

Society: "Happy Hour: See you at Seviche after work, dude!"

- Study participants

Researchers: More than 700 male and female participants assembled into three-person groups for controlled scientific experimentation.

Society: Countless men and women assembled in random clusters for uncontrolled hedonistic inebriation -- and perhaps some of that delicious Asian tartare with wasabi mayonnaise and fried lotus root. …