Effects of alcohol on group formation among male social drinkers

Thomas R. Kirchner, Michael A. Sayette, Jeffrey F. Cohn, Richard L. Moreland, John M. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Social factors affect alcohol use and misuse, yet researchers rarely study the acute effects of alcohol in groups. This study used systematic observation techniques to measure the effects of alcohol on behavioral responses during an initial group interaction. Method: Fifty-four male social drinkers were assembled into three-person groups of strangers, and all members of each group were administered either a 0.82 g/kg dose of alcohol or a placebo to be consumed during a 30-minute period. This social interaction was video recorded, and the duration and sequence of selected smiling and speech behaviors were coded on a 1-second time base. Results: Alcohol consumption increased individual- and group-level coordination of smiling and speech behaviors over time and improved self-reported bonding. Conclusions: These data suggest that alcohol may facilitate social bonding during initial group formation. Measuring behavioral responses in a social context provides new directions for studying the acute effects of alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-793
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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